15 March 2024

Time is right for 'smart buyers' to enter Riverina's stable property market

| Katrina Condie
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Lifestyle property

Riverina lifestyle properties, such as recently listed 26 Peppermint Drive, Springvale, remain popular with families and mature buyers seeking space. Photo: PRD Wagga Wagga.

“Smart buyers” are snapping up properties now, according to one Riverina real estate agent.

PRD Wagga Wagga director Ryan Smith said with interest rates steady and increased stock, the Riverina market had stabilised, making the going good for home buyers and anyone looking to purchase an investment property in the region.

“Interest rates haven’t moved for a while, and more stock means more choice for buyers,” Ryan said.

“It’s probably one of the best times to buy, because if interest rates go down, we’re going to have more people jumping in to buy, which means increased competition and increased demand, so prices will ultimately go up.

“I think a lot of people have saved their deposit and are just waiting for interest rates to fall so they can apply for a home loan. When that happens, we can expect stock levels to fall and prices to increase as a result.

“The really smart buyers are buying now.”

Ryan said stock levels in Wagga Wagga had almost doubled in two years, from an average of 280 homes on the market in February 2022 to around 450 now, but the numbers hadn’t reached the pre-COVID levels of around 800 in 2019.

“There’s increased stock levels and home owners are still selling for the same reasons they always have, to relocate, downsize or upsize,” he said.

“There’s a lot more options for buyers, which reduces the competition in the market.”

He said while some investors were selling due to the interest rates, the Riverina still offered plenty of potential for investors who were ready and could afford to buy now, with good rental yields and not enough properties to meet the region’s rental demand.

“It’s very much an owner-occupied market right now, but if investors do want to buy, the rental market is very strong,” Ryan added.

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First-home buyers are still “champing at the bit” to get their hands on a bargain property, with the lower end of the market running hot.

“Affordable housing is always very, very popular and anything under $500,000 is still selling really quickly,” Ryan explained.

“First-home buyers have taken the last three or four years to save their deposit, so as soon as they can get a loan, they’re ready to buy.

“Acreages are also very popular and there’s always strong demand for those two or three-acre properties, particularly with families seeking open space and downsizers moving from large homes on farms to smaller, more centrally located homes. These lifestyle properties really tick all the boxes for mature buyers moving on to the next phase of their life.”

Ryan said while property was moving “pretty quickly”, the number of days on the market had increased primarily because banks were “being more diligent” and taking longer to approve loans.

In the current market, buyers who were concerned about a possible interest rate hike should “buy for their needs”, he said.

“Do they need a four-bedroom home, or can they get away with three?” Ryan questioned. ”Needs and wants are two different things.

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“Anyone on a tight budget should consider buying a smaller home in a location that suits, like near schools if they have kids.”

While the Wagga Wagga market remains stable, buyers are still flocking to surrounding regional areas such as Coolamon, Junee and Uranquinty.

“These markets are pumping, people are very keen for the bigger space,” Ryan said.

“They enjoy living in the little hamlets that have good facilities like shops and schools. People like being close to the city, but not in the heart of it.”

Ryan said there was a perception that some outlying areas offered better value for money, but property prices were on par with Wagga Wagga.

He said anyone looking to buy should jump in now.

“If they’re waiting around for interest rates to drop, there’s always going to be more people buying. They should just go when they’re ready to go,” Ryan added.

Check out the latest sales and property listings at PRD Wagga Wagga.


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