Talk or we walk, vendors told

Brisbane couple Sophie Cattana and Michael Leask, both 26, are hoping to secure their first home in Morningside in Brisbane's east.
Brisbane couple Sophie Cattana and Michael Leask, both 26, are hoping to secure their first home in Morningside in Brisbane's east.

PROPERTY buyers look set to continue their ruthless ''bargain or walk'' strategy this year, with agents reporting offers $100,000 below the asking price as ''normal conditions''.

Emma Hawker, of Professionals real estate at North Tamborine Mountain, said most buyers were determined to get a bargain and were often making one single low offer and then walking away without negotiating.

She said the property market this year would continue to be a tough sell but that, as long as a property was perceived as a bargain, it would always sell quickly, no matter the conditions.

''Trying to prise a contract out of anyone at the moment is very hard. It's all about price. I listed something dirt cheap [last] week and had 25 inquiries in the first 24 hours. My phone hasn't stopped ringing all day,'' she said.

Ms Hawker said it did not matter what price bracket the house was in, so long as the buyer believed they were getting it cheaply.

''Buyers want to get a perceived bargain, that's what it's all about; it doesn't matter whether it's $300,000 or $3 million. If they think they're getting a bargain, that's when they'll sign,'' Ms Hawker said.

Rod Westerhuis, of Remax real estate, said he was experiencing a large disparity between what a vendor wanted for a property and what a buyer wanted to pay.

''At the moment - and I think this will continue throughout 2013 - purchasers are 20 to 30 per cent below what they need to be. Sellers are 15 per cent off the mark, wanting to get more than it's worth,'' he said.

''For example, if we've got a house worth $500,000 according to what's sold recently, the seller will want to get $550,000; the buyer will only want to pay $400,000. We're averaging about 100 days on the market at the moment, and it's a difficult job trying to break it to vendors that their property is simply not going to sell for the price they've set their mind to, no matter how we market it or what we do.

''Yes, it's more difficult to sell a property at the moment but that's normal. Property isn't meant to be a short-term investment that you turn over every year or two.

''There's a lot of younger people who have never seen double-digit interest rates or a downturn in the property market who can't seem to grasp the fact that property is normally a long-term investment. They're still expecting to have made $200,000 on a property they bought three years ago and haven't touched.''

Matt Lancashire, of Ray White New Farm, said that, while he considered the current market conditions to be normal, his outlook for 2013 was more positive.

''Our last quarter was close to a record quarter for us - and our record was made during the boom,'' he said. ''Interest around the $400,000 to $600,000 is huge. We're selling a property per day and our average time on the market is 37 days.''

Australian Property Monitors recently named New Farm as one of the best five suburbs in Australia to invest in property this year.

''Things aren't going to be what they were 10 years ago and I'd absolutely agree that people need to realise these conditions - where you need to sit on a property for a long time - are here to stay. This is normal,'' Mr Lancashire said.

''However, we're feeling a bit more positive about things based on our latest sales figures and current interest so for us, 2013 looks like it could be on the up.''

This story Talk or we walk, vendors told first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.