Need a home loan? Get a read on the turns of home buying in 2024

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The Aussie property market typically has long stretches of activity followed by quick pit-stops, like the one at the end of each year. Maneuvering through this is a bit like a car race - it takes know-how and preparation.

So as the year gets into gear, it seems a good time to do some checks and get a better read of the road ahead.

Some numbers that can help with this include:

  • Home loan rates
  • Property prices
  • The amount of homes available to buy
  • Time taken to sell homes
  • Auction figures

Let's get into these a bit more.

Home loans to take a turn?

The current home loan market might have a little more positivity around it because interest rates have held and there’s even talk of them coming down in 2024.

This bodes well for homebuyers, who are currently pondering the 4.35% official cash rate, along with some quite high variable home loan rates, as per the Mozo database in early January:

  • Average variable rate home loan: 6.85% p.a. 
  • Average Big 4 Bank variable rate: 7.48% p.a. 

Above all, there’s hope these interest rate levels will drop this year. 

But is property still overly expensive?

Property data firm PropTrack says that even as the number of homes listed for sale across Australia has ticked up lately, overall supply remains relatively constrained, particularly in Perth and Brisbane. 

This has been a key contributor to price rises in those cities, as well as in popular suburbs in other capitals. 

And yet, home prices in both capital cities and the regional markets (combined) rose by just 1.5% in the December quarter, Corelogic reports. That’s not a big jump.

In fact, price growth has broadly slowed in the capitals since late May of 2023. This typically means some lower asking prices, at least compared to 2022.

So yes, property buying isn’t a cheap exercise but a slight cooling down in values will help some people - for now.

Prices will likely climb again though and PropTrack’s latest report sums up why: “Despite the cool down in capital city prices seen over December, prices in 2024 will be supported by population growth and what looks likely to be a more stable interest rate environment.” 

Aussie real estate prices are relative

Based on recent numbers, the wider Aussie market has been steady in the last few weeks but Perth has been the standout out performer on price growth. In the 2023 calendar year, Perth home values increased by 15%, which is good for owners and investors but not so much for new buyers. 

Over a similar period (January to November), Sydney's price growth was around 8.3%, says PropTrack. Adelaide's and Brisbane's were similar. 

However, price growth can also depend on what's available. Fewer homes on the market might mean fewer sales. It might also mean higher prices if demand is strong. (PropTrack's figures show that there were fewer sales across Australia in 2023 than in 2022).

So we do need to maintain perspective and not get caught up in one set of stats but rather try and form a clearer picture with the help of a few different figures.

Selling times can help tell us more.

Is the home buying market busy to start 2024?

It’s been picking up, as indicated by the time it takes to sell homes, generally.

Yes, the median time it takes to sell a capital city property was trending lower through 2023, but moved slightly higher in the December quarter to 29 days, PropTrack notes. 

The median selling time for regional Australian homes is 41 days, which is up from 36 days a year ago (this is well below the pre-COVID average).

Still, this does indicate a fair level of activity. 

Also, discounting rates narrowed in 2023 as selling times reduced. That can mean sellers more often got what they asked for, or at least close to it.

How about auction action?

Overall auctions have slowed. Final clearance rate across the combined capital cities trended lower at the end of 2023. 

For example, in the four weeks ending 17 December, the average final clearance rate was 58.9%, according to CoreLogic. 

This is quite low, but is to be expected as any year winds down. It will surely pick up as we head toward Easter, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. Consider that at the peak of Sydney and Melbourne selling seasons, auction clearances tend to hit 80 or 85%. 

Is it looking better for first homebuyers?

Perhaps most importantly for prospective first home buyers, the median prices as at December of last year don’t look too bad, relatively speaking.

Of course, Sydney came in at around $1m, but Melbourne was marked at $800,000 and Brisbane’s at $783,000. Adelaide’s median is closer to $700,000. (PropTrack figures based on all property types).

These numbers at least represent lower prices than those seen at the high points of 2022 when demand spiked.

No two areas are the same, mind you. One suburb can have an inflated price, while the next might be more subdued. It can be helpful therefore to avoid the crowds and go one or two suburbs over, no matter where you are, which can sometimes offer a similar home at a slightly lower price point. 

This approach combined with a thorough review of available home loan rates can form the basis of a sound homebuying strategy. Be sure to start comparing some of the best home loans on the market below, as selected by our Mozo home loan experts. 

Compare home loans - last updated 24 February 2024

Search promoted home loans below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Home Fixed Rate

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    5.80% p.a.
    fixed 3 years
    6.05% p.a.

    Enjoy the security of a competitive fixed interest rate from Up. No application, monthly, annual, redraw, or discharge fees to pay. Up to 50 free offset accounts available. Up home loans are only available to owner-occupiers buying or refinancing in major Australian cities. Up is 100% owned by Bendigo Bank. New joiners get $10 by signing up to the app using code UPHOMEMOZO. (T&Cs apply). Mozo Experts Choice award winner.

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  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    Home Variable Rate

    Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.15% p.a. variable
    6.15% p.a.

    Enjoy a competitive variable interest rate from Up. No application, monthly, annual, redraw, or discharge fees to pay. Up to 50 free offset accounts available. Up home loans are only available to owner-occupiers buying or refinancing in major Australian cities. Up is 100% owned by Bendigo Bank. New joiners get $10 by signing up to the app using code UPHOMEMOZO. (T&Cs apply) Mozo Experts Choice award winner.

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  • Straight Up

    Obliterate, Owner Occupier, Principal & Interest, <50% LVR

    interest rate
    comparison rate
    Initial monthly repayment
    6.24% p.a. variable
    6.24% p.a.

    Get a low variable rate depending on your deposit with Athena’s Straight Up Variable Home Loan. AcceleRATES feature helps you to reduce your home loan even faster (T&Cs apply). Zero fees to pay. Free redraw facility. Handy mobile app to manage your home loan.

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