Pricey houses stay on the market for years

Wollongong real estate agent Paul Spinelli likes a challenge but he has been seriously tested with this Blackbutt property, which has been on the market for close to three years.

It has gone through four agencies and defied two auctions and is now on the market as a mortgagee sale for $1.425 million based on three valuations.

"This is a record for me but you never say die," said Mr Spinelli, from Park Trent Real Estate. He has gone to the lengths of stripping off and diving into the indoor pool to clear the leaves before an inspection.

"Our office has also marketed it overseas and in Australian Chinese newspapers - the hardest part of that was proofreading an ad written in Chinese," he joked.

Mr Spinelli said despite the frustrations he was still optimistic for a property he described as palatial but initially overpriced.

It may be the extreme end of a slow market, but that has been the reality over the past year, placing strain on agents and vendors.

Industry commentators believe lack of confidence more than anything has affected high-end properties, which on average have spent three, four and five months on the market - sometimes, as in this case, a lot longer.

In Austinmer, houses have been sitting on the books an average 153 days, compared with Fairy Meadow at 115 days.

Many agents and vendors have had to learn to discount or play a long waiting game.

Craig Higbid from McGrath Kiama said his record was a house on the market for a year.

"Generally there are three reasons why a property won't sell - price, presentation and defects, such as termite damage or plumbing problems.

"The wait doesn't get you down if your mindset is strong and that is the test of a good agent," Mr Higbid said.

"The one I had the difficulty moving was overpriced ... if vendors don't listen you can have a long wait on your hands."

Phil Murray from Bevans Corrimal believed market snails came down to only one issue - price.

"Defects and presentation are issues but they can all be addressed by price," he said.

Mr Murray said his slow movers had all been overpriced.

"The bottom line is the higher you start the less chance you have of selling because you have fewer lookers and that means less competition."

Simon Beaufils from Ray White Helensburgh believes an agent should represent a vendor no more than four months.

"Beyond that it will significantly reduce the ability to negotiate a premium price," he said.

WAITING TIMES

Average days on the market, according to Australian Property Monitors: 

Austinmer - 153

Dapto - 121

Wollongong - 115

Mangerton - 109

Coledale - 81

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop