Sydney hidden gem – Michael Ossitt

Sydney hidden gem – Michael Ossitt

Once we dig deeper, we find that even though a market may be slowing down a little bit – which are all the signs coming out of Sydney – there are markets within markets. And one of those we’re going to feature today in the show with Sydney buyer’s agent Michael Ossitt.


Kevin:  As we know and we’ve identified many times in the show, there are different markets all around Australia. It’s very easy to put all your eggs in one basket, to say that the Sydney market is tanking or the Sydney market is going to be improving, but once we dig deeper, we find that even though a market may be slowing down a little bit – which are all the signs coming out of Sydney – there are markets within markets. And one of those that we’re going to feature today in the show and talk to a buyer’s agent about is Frenchs Forest.

I’m going to introduce Strand Property Group director and Sydney buyer’s agent Michael Ossitt, who joins me.

Michael, it’s interesting, isn’t it, when we dig deeper into an area like Frenchs Forest to find that there are some absolute hidden gems in amongst what could be a declining market.

Michael:  Absolutely, Kevin. This is the thing about what’s reported in the media about the strength of the Sydney market – or not the strength of the market, as the case may be – and when you dig deep into smaller markets, you actually see demand still outstripping supply, which I believe is the case in this area.

Kevin:  One of the indicators we like to look at in the show is how long it takes to sell a property, and looking at your figures – or I think the figures that may have come out of Location School – it takes on average 52 days to sell a house in Sydney, but in Frenchs Forest, it’s only seven days. What’s behind that? Is it a shortage of stock? Is it realistic prices?

Michael:  It’s definitely a shortage of stock. What we’ve had in Frenchs Forest over the last couple of years is a proposed rezoning of the area. Many people might know there’s a brand-new hospital under construction at the moment, which will open at the end of the year, and the council and now the state government have actually proposed to rezone the area around the hospital to create more dwellings.

What’s happened is existing residents around the area are sitting on their hands to see what happens, because there’s potentially obviously an uplift in valuation of their property if it does get rezoned to medium density housing.

Kevin:  Just a couple of points come out of that, and one is I wonder what the reaction is of locals who don’t want to sell. Always when you get an indication that the council are going to put more density in, you get a lot of objections to that.

Are you seeing that at all, Michael?

Michael:  Absolutely. There’s definitely quite a bit of tension in the area, just the uncertainty of what’s going to happen. You have residents who have been there since the 1960s when the suburb was first established. These people have grown up in the houses, had families there, and now with the introduction of new development, it has shaken things up a little bit. And some people don’t necessarily want to sell, and so it has been forced upon people somewhat.

So, yes, there are definitely two sides to it in that respect.

Kevin:  Those people who are holding on, waiting for a better time to put it on the market, maybe when things get a little further down the track… I think the hospital is due to open in October this year; is that right?

Michael:  Yes, end of October.

Kevin:  I think it’s a false premise – isn’t it – to think “I’ll sit on my hands and wait,” when probably the best time to be selling is right now when the demand is so high and stock levels are low.

Michael:  Yes, you definitely have more buyers than there are sellers, so to negotiate a good price is certainly a good opportunity.

I think what’s happened in reality is that you have vendors with maybe too high an expectation at the moment because of that. They’re taking sentiment from the rest of the Sydney market. You probably have a case of vendor expectations being too high, and maybe buyers looking at the moment a little lower, although things are obviously moving a lot quicker than the rest of Sydney.

But in terms of the long-term projection, I think it’s a good opportunity for both sides, really, certainly buyers.

Kevin:  Is there still talk of a second harbor crossing?

Michael:  That’s on the cards for the long-term. I know the state government wants to make that happen. I don’t expect anything to actually come to fruition for maybe another ten years. It would take that long to build it.

But if that does happen, it certainly opens this area up in terms of much quicker access into the city. The proposal is for a tunnel to go under Middle Harbor, which would bypass the notorious Spit Bridge, which is obviously a bit of a bottleneck.

Kevin:  That’s a bottleneck that one, for sure. I’ve been caught on that one for a few occasions.

Of course, Frenchs Forest is pretty close to the city, isn’t it? We’re only like 10 or 12 kilometers away.

Michael:  Yes, probably 13 kilometers from the CBD. So, it’s been under the radar in terms of people’s knowledge of the area, but you still have close proximity to the city. You’re probably less than five kilometers from the beaches, Dee Why, Manly and Queenscliff, those areas.

Yes, we find that a lot of people are looking at the area now from close to the city or close to the beaches and actually seeing more value in that area.

Kevin:  The median has grown a bit too, I think, just looking at some of the stats, from $1.5 million up to just a touch over $1.6 million this year.

Michael:  Yes, and that’s what we’re seeing. We’re definitely seeing a trend in the Sydney average median. It certainly peaked at the start of last year, and it has slowly eased back through the end of last year and again in the beginning of this year, but what we’re seeing in the data is that the median in Frenchs Forest has gone up from $1.58 million in March last year to $1.65 million at the beginning of this year.

So, it’s actually continued to strengthen while the rest of the Sydney market has cooled off. I think that just goes to show that demand that’s there.

Kevin:  Good work, Michael. You enjoy your time in Frenchs Forest. Happy selling, and thank you very much for joining us.

Michael Ossitt has been my guest, and Michael is from a company called Strand Property Group. He is the director and buyer’s agent for them.

Michael, thanks for your time.

Michael:  Thank you, Kevin. Have a good day.

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