Market Update

Data for the month of March surprised on the upside with a 0.2% increase in the median property prices for the Illawarra. That was followed up a few days later by the Reserve Bank’s decision to hold rates as it has a look-see to the latest inflation figures to see if it will continue pulling the interest rate lever up.

The up-turn in Illawarra prices was largely driven by low levels of listings and the Federal Government announcement that it was going to open the door to immigration again after the Covid-19 pandemic stalled the program. Economists warned that the increase may be an aberration, but Bartlett and Co. Property Principal Tim Bartlett says that the low listing environment is one of the key contributors.

“There is a very clear message in these numbers,” Tim says, “And that is that we are in a window where the low levels of listing are holding up competition for properties. There are still buyers out there.”




Reserve Bank pause gives mortgage holders a breather

After 10 consecutive rate hikes since May 2022, Governor Phillip Lowe’s decision to keep rates on hold at the April meeting has given Illawarra mortgage holders a breather.

The RBA notes indicate that the tightening cycle may not be finished, and that the April pause was more about seeing the effects of the interest rates in the economy – which typically lag a month or two before showing up in the data.

“The Board took the decision to hold interest rates steady this month to provide additional time to assess the impact of the increase in interest rates to date and the economic outlook,” the notes said.

But it was clear that household spending and a tight labour market were still worrying the Board.

“In assessing when and how much further interest rates need to increase, the Board will be paying close attention to developments in the global economy, trends in household spending and the outlook for inflation and the labour market.”

All eyes on the next meeting in May.






  The power of natural light

If you want to feel a sense of calm and well-being the minute you walk into your home, then nothing beats natural light.

Regular exposure to natural light is not only good for your health but also has the added benefits of improving your sleep, increasing the value of your home and saving you on electricity bills.⁠

Apart from installing skylights, larger windows or glass sliding doors, here are some easier options you can do to get the most natural light out of your home.⁠
⁠1. Hang a large mirror on a wall opposite a window⁠

  1. Paint your walls and ceilings white⁠
  2. Replace heavy drapes with sheer curtains or white shutters⁠
  3. Keep windows washed and clean (you’d be surprised what a difference this makes!)⁠






How many cranes can you count? 

The annual crane index was released last week by the construction consultancy firm Rider Levett Bucknall, and since Wollongong is in the midst of a building boom – it’s probably something you should keep in mind.

The index tracks the number of cranes in a country and city, and it is usually a reliable indicator of the health of the construction industry and demand for housing and office space. And Wollongong is full of cranes at the moment!

If you’ve been in Wollongong since Y2K came and went without a hitch, you’d have witnessed the transformation of the city. And that continues on lower Crown St. with new projects going up in the old BMW dealership – and it looks like Wollongong’s beloved Chickos is up for a move if plans for a new development there are passed even before the final pour of concrete is completed in the building behind it.

Of course, there is the Bruce Gordon development and on the block around Keira St. and there is now news of an 11-storey development on Corrimal St. spanning Crown to Market – where the Harp Hotel and Anytime Fitness are home.

Next time you walk the Blue Mile, look west. How many cranes can you count?




  Is it better to sell before July 2023? 

We highlighted earlier the low levels of listing in the Illawarra property market as being one of the key factors in the slight bump in prices last month, raising the eyebrows of some economists.

After all, none of the fundamentals have changed – rising interest rates, tighter lending standards and difficulty refinancing are all keeping the lid firmly shut on price expectations. But the July date is on the Reserve Bank’s radar when it is expected that 800,000 Australians will revert to a variable mortgage rate after being on historically low fixed interest rates.

What does that mean? Significantly higher repayments. And that could mean a rush to sell, increasing stock and a fall in prices – especially if the Reserve has yet to contain inflation.

Between now and then, there is a quiet calm in the market that is making those who are selling in this period enjoy the deep levels of demand because of lack of competition in the market. Food for thought.




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