Economy

Holiday home sales slide ahead of peak selling season

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Sales of holiday homes in popular beachfront vacation areas have fallen sharply in the last few months, but agents hope falling interest rates and bargain hunting can re-ignite the market.

Sales of holiday homes in popular beachfront vacation areas have fallen sharply in the last few months, but agents hope falling interest rates and bargain hunting can re-ignite the market.

Alan Crossman, principal of Ray White Real Estate in Port Douglas, says sales of holiday homes have been suffering for the past 12 months.

“You talk to any agent in Australia and they’ll tell you that the real estate market has dropped off. Holiday homes are no exception. There isn’t a great demand just at the moment.”

“Places like Port Douglas have dropped into the real estate decline earlier than most. We’ve felt the effects from the beginning of the year as two thirds of our properties are holiday homes.”

Crossman says declining demand will mean property prices will begin to fall back.

“Yes, there’s been a decline in value. We haven’t really had many buys at prices people went to sell at. But times change and prices drop.”

Howard Cleine, an agent at Paton Estate Agents on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula area, says falling demand has seen a fall in prices at this popular holiday spot.

“We’re aware that the market is doing it tough and the pricing probably has come back about 10%. In the last couple of months with everybody talking about the global crisis, the inquiries have been very ordinary.”

Cleine is hesitant to predict when signs of a recovery might be evident. “We’re in unchartered waters, we don’t know. We’ve never been here before.”

Helen Stewart, property manager for Merimbula Lake Real Estate, also says demand has fallen. “Holidays homes are moving, but not fantastically, and it has been dead quiet up until the last eight or 10 weeks.”

But there may be a glimmer of hope for the market. Stuart Cox, estate agent and auctioneer for Mornington Peninsula-based firm Jacobs and Lowe-Bennets, points to the recent sale of a $1 million holiday home as evidence that inquiries are healthy.

“There are still good inquiries. Yes, the market did slow down but we are still finding very good inquiry. We are selling a number of properties in our marina development.”

“During Christmas and New Year it does slow down, but from 4 January or 5 January it picks up and January is our busiest month. Business is looking to be the same as usual.”

Alan Crossman from Port Douglas also says he is “cautiously optimistic” that conditions could improve before long.

“It’s a bit hard to tell what’s going to happen. I think obviously the interest rate drops will help. The number of people visiting Port Douglas visiting this year has been good. There’s a lot of domestic tourism because people aren’t going overseas.”

“So I think those factors will all have a positive effect and will probably help to improve the market.”

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