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What Happened to the Markets in April?

By Shimei Yang

April – that fluffy month with Easter holidays – traditionally signals the end of the fabulous Summer selling season. It’s the month that can bring a sharp dose of brutal realities. It’s the month where there seems to be less ‘impulse’ buying – just servicing of the hardcore needs of our communities!

Did we hit our magic baseline $2billion in April sales? – that figure that we see as our platform. Yes we did – but help came from some surprising quarters. New Zealand keeps outperforming expectations. The results from our Indonesian network took our breath away.

Indonesia has had it tough for the last ten years. Interest rates up to 19 per cent; their joy when rates dropped to their current 8.5 per cent. Their market is now incredibly active. Prices increasing by up to 100 per cent in twelve months. A friendly reminder to all Australians of the reality and certainty of cycles. If Australian mortgage rates were as high as Indonesia’s currently are there would be black despair! Yet they are booming. It reminds one of the expression ‘when things are tough people expect them to get tougher again, when things are on the improve people expect that improvement to go on forever’. Both expectations are invariably wrong.

On the rural front, the debate on coal seam gas is creating unwanted nervousness from the traditional supporters of rural property. This additional uncertainty is on top of the water debate and the question of whether Australia should take a greater interest in its long term food security. Recent sales, where the intention of new owners is to provide food security exclusively for foreign markets will, in our view, add to the issues. Thus the pending Ray White sale of iconic Victoria River district properties in the Northern Territory will be followed with great interest.

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