Young buyers seize their chance as CoreLogic report shows Geelong home values slipped in March

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Auctioneer David Cortous expects the market to bounce back next year. Picture: Stephen Harman

YOUNG homebuyers are getting bolder as increasing affordability and less competition become apparent in a softening Geelong property market.

First-time buyers in particular were out in force at a number of auctions on the weekend, successfully bidding or negotiating later to secure several properties.

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The crowd applauds after a young bidder won the auction of a three-bedroom Belmont house at the weekend. Picture: Peter Ristevski

The price sensitive buyers are getting a better chance at securing properties as the number of bidders raising their hands has dropped compared to 2018.

Agents have been happy to score one, two or three bidders at auctions where there’s been active bidding, while properties were attracting four or more in 2018.

The change in the market was underscored by the latest CoreLogic Home Value Index that shows Geelong dwelling values slipped in March, down 1.3 per cent to $538,000.

The data revealed Geelong was still recording positive growth annually, with the median value 1.2 per cent higher than the same time last year.

First-home buyers secured this renovated cottage at 163 Swanston St, South Geelong, though others had trouble with finance.

Maxwell Collins, Geelong agent Eugene Carroll said it was evident that more first-time buyers were coming into the market as prices fell back.

“In Geelong we are probably levelling out but it is opening the door for first-home buyers to enter the market at a realistic price range,” Mr Carroll said.

“Gone is 12 months ago where prices kept on climbing. Every three months there was another adjustment upwards — that’s certainly not the case at the moment.”

Mr Carroll said young buyers often approached with offers prior to auction, but noted they were doing their homework and often had pre-approved finance.

A first-home buyer made the only bid before negotiating to buy this renovated house at 27 Richmond St, East Geelong, $655,000.

“The best position for them to be in is to have their finance prearranged and quite often the bank may need a little bit of time to have the property valued independently,” Mr Carroll said

“But that means they can go to the auction and bid with confidence to their level and quite often the vendor wants to do business on the day. If they put their hand up it puts them in a very strong position.”

McGrath, Geelong agent David Cortous said investors could also strike, if they could access money.

After a year when house prices were regularly adjusted up, buyers are seeing house values levelling out in Geelong.

“It will probably be a market like this for a year and will bounce back, so it’s a good opportunity to purchase now,” he said.

“I haven’t seen any big enough event — there’s been no financial crisis or anything — to really harm the property market. This little correction is probably more a blip on the radar than a real sustained correction.”

The new data comes as the CoreLogic Index revealed the rate of decline in dwelling values was slowing nationally and in Melbourne, suggesting an end could be in sight for the market correction.

CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said population growth and affordability was better in Melbourne than Sydney.

CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said the 0.8 per cent fall in Melbourne was a “reasonably swift decline” but an improvement on the past few months of falls.

“Melbourne peaked out later than Sydney did. Arguably Melbourne has stronger growth drivers, population growth, and affordability is better in Melbourne based on price to income ratio.”

Ballarat has been a national star in the past 12 months, with its 6.6 per cent growth making it the third strongest regional city nationally.

La Trobe-Gippsland homeowners enjoyed 6.2 per cent growth, and Shepparton 2.3 per cent growth, in the 12 month period, also placing them in the top 10.

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