SPRING is finally here, and with it brings a raft of keen home buyers and happy vendors.
Spring is traditionally considered the time to sell, thanks to an influx of buyers coming out of their winter hibernation, and a season which can highlight the best attributes of a property.
While the 2011 spring selling season was softer than previous years, 2012 is shaping up as a buoyant market for both buyers and sellers.
Raine and Horne Coffs Harbour principal and Real Estate Institute of New South Wales director Christine Clarke is already seeing the change-of-season effects.
"In the past two weeks we've seen a real influx of interest with more people at open homes and more genuine inquiries," Christine said.
"Part of it is the longer days, sunshine and blue skies, but people are also feeling more positive about the future thanks to some good economic and financial data."
Christine said properties priced below $500,000 were drawing the largest interest from buyers.
The finance industry is also confident the coming months will see a spike in activity.
A national survey of Loan Market mortgage brokers found 86% believed spring would bring a rise in loans.
Loan Market corporate spokesman Paul Smith said 40% of their brokers forecast a five to 10% increase in inquiries.
"There are definite signs that spring is in the air for the real estate and home finance markets," Mr Smith said.
"The stable interest rate environment with the cash rate remaining near historical lows and generally soft property prices have been attracting investors.
"First-time buyers have also been more active and some are targeting investment properties as their entry point to the property market."
Another study has identified first-home buyers and Gen Y buyers as the most optimistic about buying.
The Housing Affordability Sentiment Index report, commissioned by realestate.com.au has found Gen Y was the most optimistic about both housing afford- ability and the current and future outlook of their financial position.
The report also found Gen Y has the most significant increase in household savings.
According to realestate.com.au chief product officer Henry Ruiz, spring is an excellent time to enter the property market.
"Historically we see the number of listings increase over this period, which gives buyers more choice and opportunity to get into the market," Mr Ruiz said.
While Gen Y may hold the key to a significant bounce-back in the real estate market, a separate study is warning it may not happen in spring.
The RAMS First Home Buyers' Pulse Check survey found that while three-quarters of first-home buyers believed now was a good time to buy, only 17% would do so in the next three months.
Two thirds of those surveyed were optimistic they will purchase their first home within 12 months, with affordability the key trigger when making a purchasing decision.
RAMS chief executive Melos Sulicich said first-home buyers were making more- informed choices, taking time to research the market and not rushing in like previ- ous years.
"Good deals are out there for first-home buyers but a general lack of confidence to take the first step may see some miss out on their ideal property to savvy investors," Mr Sulicich said.
"Buying a first home is one of the biggest but also the most rewarding decisions Australians can make, so it's important to have the right balance between weighing up your options and jumping in."
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