How to navigate change in a choppy property market

July 18, 2022

Extraordinary property figures and a rental upheaval along with rising interest rates, high inflation, energy crises, COVID winter waves, a Ukraine war and the soaring cost of living don't make for an easy night's sleep.

While house prices are starting to ease, we're still only hovering towards a buyer's market, especially with a strong expectation of continued interest rate hikes for the rest of 2022.

So, how do you navigate change in a choppy property market?


1. Don't drift into depressing waters

We're all hearing it now: property prices are plummeting and we're now in a buyer's market so watch out!

Prices are certainly easing but as we discussed recently, everything for buyers is definitely not lost.

Property values are still high, there are still too few homes on the market and plenty of very keen buyers on the hunt for their dream boat remain disappointed by both values and availability.

2. Give dramatic headlines a wide berth

Study the facts and figures of what's really happening in the market, rather than big headlines.

The most recent research from CoreLogic, based on the industry expert's interactive Mapping the Market tool found Sydney and Melbourne market prices in particular are dropping.

Yet CoreLogic adds that although 81.1% of Sydney house markets analysed recorded a fall in values in the March quarter, three out of four suburbs still have a median house value of more than $1 million with no house markets under $500,000.

Melbourne's property market value drop is more concerning, with 80% of the city’s house markets falling in value over the last quarter while almost 60% of unit markets also recorded a fall.

But Brisbane's growth conditions "remain positive" with the once countrified city now boasting a median house value of more than $1 million in 120 (35.7%) of CoreLogic's analysed suburbs in the March quarter.

And snaps to Adelaide for recording the strongest quarterly growth in house values (5.1%) of all our capital cities with a quarter of its house markets recording a median price of $1 million or more.

3. Don't be left all at sea

Buyer demand is high however buyers are on their game.

As they've done their market research, sellers need to do the same.

Otherwise, you'll have buyers turning away within seconds of their inspection arrival, unimpressed by its price guide or its condition or both!

So, have your home valued before listing it and research both your local property market and that of your state and Australia overall.

Attend house inspections, particularly those similar to your own home, to see what's available in your area and for what price.

If you're not happy or don't agree with your property valuation figure, consider styling your house with a professional or simply give it a top-to-bottom clean.

4. Ensure your home is ship-shape

You want to inspire buyers to purchase your property so even if your home is low on storage space, for example, add a few free-standing cupboards to reassure buyers that such easy changes are possible.

If you're in a popular family area, consider adding a few similarly easy details to your gardens such as a basic set of swings or styling a children's playroom.

If you're in a retiree zone, you could add balustrades to staircases or simply up the ante on places to relax and entertain.

5. Be prepared to weather the storm

This point is largely for investors where property is essentially their business.

In the current market, it can be tempting to sell for the strong prices buyers are still (relatively) willing to pay.

At the same time, and especially if you've always considered this investment to be a long-haul one, hold onto your goals.

Owner-occupiers, the bricks and mortar around you are your life savings and may well be the budget for your next home.

So, compromise only as much as you're willing to do.

Don't cruise along unthinkingly but be smart about your decisions and think long-term.

We live in a turning world and the property market is renowned for also turning.

How to navigate change in a choppy property market
With so much news out there about the changing property market it can be difficult to keep up. Here’s some tips to help you navigate change in a choppy property market.


1. Ensure your finances are squared away

This is the most crucial point for buyers to help navigate change in a choppy property market, especially for first-time newbies.

Do you know how much you can borrow?

You will need to know your taxable income for the last two years at least to answer this question.

Do you know how much your mortgage repayments will be?

Do you know how much you'll need for council rates, regular maintenance, and body corp fees?

Do you have emergency funds if your hot water system collapses overnight?

By all means, research and inspect properties while organising your finances, but hold off on offers and bids until you know exactly how much you can spend and afford, long-term.

2. Research the market from stem to stern

Just as with sellers, buyers should know all the ropes when it comes to the property market.

There are bundles of handy info online these days but as well, talk to friends and family members who've recently bought or sold, and local agents as well.

Keep up-to-date with industry experts such as CoreLogic and what's happening in the general news with the property market.

This is big money, long years and major responsibility you're facing but you can avoid the worst of the groundswell by staying smart.

3. Be prepared to try a different tack

This applies particularly to those with a purchase period timeline.

Perhaps you or your partner are preparing to move for a job or you need extra room for your parents to live with you.

Either way, it may well come to the point where you need to buy fast and your current preferences and tactics just aren't delivering what you want.

So, consider widening your search to different suburbs or be prepared to go without a second bathroom or a more modern kitchen.

4. Does your dream boat (really) fit the bill?

At the same time, you don't want to sail so far past your ideal situation that the property you're now seriously considering is miles from it.

You're spending big money on this new house and it should be a property that you're at least partly proud and excited to show friends and family members - and that you're fairly satisfied to spend big money on.

It's a great idea to make a list of "must haves" and "nice to haves" for your dream property.

Remember too that as this will be your own house - and not a rental - so kitchens can be modernised and wallpaper and carpet can be replaced while throw rugs, furniture and pictures can make a huge difference to a plain property.

5. Stay onboard with an even keel

It can be difficult to keep your chin up on the property buying journey let alone sail onwards with flying financial and emotional colours.

So, be kind to yourself and aim to stay motivated - and patient.

If you need to give yourself occasional holidays from the buying game, do so - but we encourage you to get back on board soon as your new home may well be in the offing.

We're can help you cruise comfortably

We at Listing Loop have options for both buyers and sellers and we lead the charge when it comes to buying and selling off-market - especially when it comes to how you navigate change in a choppy property market.

We can also help you refinance and first-home buyers and investors, we've got your property back too.

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