Fears that further interest rate hikes may dampen property market growth are prompting property owners to put their properties up for sale, according to a new report.
The latest figures from RP Data showed that the number of new property listings have jumped significantly by 34,000 over the past two weeks compared to the same period last year.
Tim Lawless, RP Data research analyst, said that the surge in the number of properties up for grabs may be an indication that market sentiment remains high and vendors are confident in the market conditions, or conversely that vendors are pushing more properties into the market now for fear of conditions deteriorating later in the year.
"In all likelihood, the latter may be true where we're now seeing homeowners becoming afraid of future changes in market conditions fuelled by rumblings amongst industry experts that the RBA is likely to continue to increase interest rates," Lawless said.
Queensland sellers were the most active, with a 38% jump in new residential properties listed for sale over the last 12 months. Brisbane saw an increase of 62.62% over the past four weeks, while Sydney and Melbourne each recorded a 23% rise in new listings.
"If consumers are concerned about interest rates, coupled with mounting inflation pressures and affordability, now might be a good time to sell."
However, John Lindeman, senior property analyst with Residex, wasn't convinced that the surging numbers of new property listings is an indication that people are taking profit in anticipation of a slower market ahead.
"I don't think people sell properties on expectations that price drops," said Lindeman. "Normally people hang on to properties expecting prices to increase; they'll wait and when they get the growth that they require they'll sell in order to reinvest. I don't think people are selling as a panic move. When you look at sales in Sydney, they're highest in the upper income levels, not in the lower levels. The people who are selling in the lower levels sure have to sell, but there aren't many of those. People who are selling are likely to have already made a profit and want to realise that or are moving to a new area."
Is now a good time to sell? Lindeman said it depends on a number of factors. "If you've reached your target growth and want to reinvest, then yes, but not because the property market might drop. The times where property prices have gone down is very rare and far between, and it's usually accompanied by terrible events when people sold just to get out. We're not in that stage and any talks like that is alarmist."