Autumn is the time to sell!

Australians love to talk property and it seems these are two of the biggest myths preventing consumers from entering the property market.

Property expert Margaret Lomas and realestate.com.au have combined forces to debunk four common property market myths and provide the facts to help Australians successfully navigate the property market.

The other myths at the top of the list are that ‘First home buyers are being forced out of the market’ and ‘Low auction clearance rates mean houses aren’t selling’.

Lomas has urged those looking to buy or sell not to be misled by hearsay and to take the leap into property throughout autumn.

Consumer research indicates that over half of Australians (51 per cent) believe the time of year bears no impact on the success of buying and selling property, with only 9 per cent acknowledging autumn as the best.

‘’Autumn is definitely the most opportune time to enter the property market,’’ she explained.

Data from realestate.com.au has revealed March and May as the two most popular months of the year for new property listings in 2011, with over 7.5 million unique browsers hitting the website in May last year.

Research has also shown more than three-quarters (77 per cent) of first home buyers in Australia believe they are being forced out of the market. In fact, realestate.com.au data suggests there are more affordable properties on the market now than in 2011. In 2011, there were 23,000 more properties at $500,000 or less listed on the site, compared to 2010.

Lomas explains: ‘’Today I see many first home buyers entering the property market on a lower rung, as investors first. While many of the more exclusive suburbs of capital cities are indeed unaffordable to the first home buyer, considerable affordability can be found in outer suburbs with excellent infrastructure and in larger regional areas which offer diverse employment opportunities and an excellent lifestyle.’’

So that leads to the question: ‘Are property prices overvalued’?

More than 60 per cent of Australians believe property prices are currently overvalued.

Lomas explains that this misconception has been perpetuated by sensational headlines that consider affordability only in relation to yearly household income – painting a largely inaccurate picture.

‘’We are at a time when housing is the most affordable it has been for a decade,’’ says Lomas.

‘’From a peak of 34 per cent of the average household income in 2010, average mortgage payments on the median priced home have declined to 32 per cent and are expected to fall beneath the long term average of 30 per cent by early next year.’’
When it comes to popular conceptions such as ‘Low auction clearance rates mean houses aren’t selling’, Lomas reasons that these days ‘’buyers are much more educated and far keener negotiators’’.

She says the connection that is placed on clearance rates and market health is misleading.

Almost three-quarters (74 per cent) of Australians believe low auction clearance rates indicate houses aren’t selling but numbers from RP Data indicate houses are selling, it’s just taking a bit longer. Across the country, there was a slight increase in days on market when comparing January 2011 to January 2012.

Australians who are considering entering the property market are encouraged to see what the autumn season has to offer.

Joanne Whyte, General Manager, Brand, Communications and Insights realestate.com.au added: ‘’Autumn is a terrific time of year to buy and sell. Whether you’re looking to invest, upgrade or even renovate your property, there’s plenty of inspiration at realestate.com.au.’’