The Wood and the Trees

There’s a common phrase we use without thinking – “can’t see the wood for the trees.” Interestingly, it’s one that’s stood the test of time, with the earliest recorded use of it back in 1546. But what does it really mean? 

In simple terms, it describes the difficulty in having any real perspective if you’re looking too closely at small details, or you’re too closely involved – hence the analogy of seeing just a series of trees, instead of the forest they make up. 

The real estate market is heavily complicated by this dynamic and it’s no wonder. It’s such an important transaction for both buyers and sellers, it’s hard for either party to be objective. Some might say impossible. Even for good agents who work in one particular area or price point, it can be tough to see the big picture. 

That’s one of the up-sides of being an independent auctioneer with extensive experience on the Sunny Coast. I’m lucky enough to work with more than 100 different agencies in our local region and have built up quite a picture of trends over the past 15 years living and working here. Now calling around half of all the auctions on the coast, I really do see it all. 

Like many in our industry, I’m constantly being asked what I expect to happen with the market. My stock answer is that without a crystal ball it’s difficult to say, but recently my answer’s been a bit different. 

For context, the Sunshine Coast region is rapidly changing – gone are the days where it was a seaside holiday destination and the bulk of full-time residents were retirees. Today, it’s a growing satellite city, with all the associated employment opportunities and necessary infrastructure. For the property market, this means demand is growing, both for owner occupiers and investors. So I do believe the future for the local property market is bright.

But right now, there’s a twist – there’s not a lot of properties on the market for sale, which is putting a pressure on prices that won’t necessarily always be there. For those who’ve owned property here for many years, the result of this is that the current market value of their property might come as a surprise - particularly after the massive fall in prices the region experienced back in 2010-11, up to 40% in some cases. I know for me personally, I was forced to hold property I would otherwise have sold for an extended period as I waited for prices to recover. 

But that time has come. Not only have prices recovered, they’ve grown, and today’s competition is yielding some tremendous results at auction right now. If you’ve been waiting to take your profit, the perfect opportunity might well be right in front of you – that’s the forest, not the trees.


All the best
Gordon Macdonald