MARKET UPDATE: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The race to buy is heating up in the outer southeast as renewed confidence pushes prices up and sales times down. Here’s how to come out a winner.

SALES in the southeast growth corridor are picking up pace as the region shrugs off Melbourne’s property market downturn.

Renewed buyer confidence is driving quicker sales and higher prices, creating the best conditions for sellers in many months.

KR Peters Officer branch manager Ian Harris says multiple offers and large crowds at open for inspections are again becoming part of the real estate landscape in the area.

Mr Harris says a recent open for inspection attracted about 37 groups.

“You would have got six or seven groups through in the past 12 months and they were all just looking for a bargain,” he says.

“But a lot of agents are pricing competitively and once the sold stickers start going up buyers are going to realise they have to act quickly.”

It took just seven days for a four-bedroom house in Officer to be snapped up in late May.

The impeccable 18-month-old house at 16 Juniper St sold for $560,000 amid a vigorous KR Peters marketing campaign.

Along with speedier sales, Mr Harris expects prices to rise steadily but moderately until Christmas.

The number of homes on the market is also tipped to increase.

“Once better prices are achieved people will be more inclined to sell,” Mr Harris says.

KR Peters director Peter Nicolls says the federal election outcome was a turning point for the market, with subsequent interest rate cuts and a loosening of lending restrictions injecting further confidence.

He estimates prices have rebounded 3-4 per cent in the Officer area since the May election.
CoreLogic data shows most Cardinia and Casey suburbs have defied the market gloom that has cast a shadow over Melbourne for much of the past year.

In the new-home hot spot of Officer, the median house price grew 5.5 per cent to $550,000 in the 12 months to April.

And in Clyde North, another burgeoning area, the median house price climbed 16.8 per cent to $590,000.

Growth was more subdued in the more established suburbs of Cranbourne North, where the median price rose 3.6 per cent to $580,000, and Pakenham, where the median price nudged up 0.1 per cent to $502,000.
Some larger suburbs saw prices dip in the 12 months to April, including Berwick (down 2.7 per cent to $675,000) and Narre Warren (down 3.3 per cent to $595,000).

This compares to a 2.7 per cent fall across greater Melbourne.