Understanding real estate market cycles

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Real estate, being a tangible asset with deeply ingrained socio-economic value, is often the subject of cyclical fluctuations influenced by a myriad of factors, ranging from economic policies to consumer sentiment.

24 August 2023

Understanding these cycles is crucial in making informed decisions in the real estate market. Specifically, in the context of Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, recognising these cycles allows one to capitalise on the unique market opportunities these regions offer. 

As Marshall White Director and Auctioneer, Fraser Cahill explains, “Given that real estate often represents a significant asset for individuals, it’s essential to keep a keen eye on market cycles, especially if looking to invest. By diligently observing the market, one gains a richer understanding of its patterns and, importantly, the key elements that drive these cycles.” 

A real estate market cycle, at its core, is a pattern of increasing and decreasing property values and transaction volumes over time. It usually goes through four distinct phases: boom, downturn, stagnation, and recovery. 


During this phase, areas from the heart of Melbourne to the coastal stretches of the Mornington Peninsula witness surging property values. In Melbourne, especially its sought-after suburbs, demand for housing typically overshadows supply, leading to rapid price hikes. Concurrently, the Mornington Peninsula, buoyed by its appeal as a tourist destination, sees beachfront properties and holiday homes in high demand, with both areas benefiting from increased infrastructure developments. 


Following a period of swift growth, the market, whether in Melbourne’s urban sprawl or the Mornington Peninsula’s scenic locales, starts to experience a cool-down. Property prices may stabilise or retract in certain pockets. This stage can be prompted by factors like lending restrictions, stamp duty changes, or even a seasonal dip in tourism-driven demand in the Peninsula. 


Property values in both regions might plateau or experience further decline. In Melbourne, the property market may slow, with longer sale periods and reduced buyer confidence. Similarly, the Mornington Peninsula, being seasonal in its appeal, can witness reduced interest, particularly in holiday homes and investment properties. 


Both Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula start showing signs of revival. As buyer confidence resurges, property values embark on a steady ascent. The rejuvenation can stem from favourable government policies, economic turnarounds, or a resurgence in the appeal of the Mornington Peninsula as a lifestyle and holiday destination. 

These cycles are paramount in dictating the strategies investors should employ and the opportunities they can exploit. However, it’s vital to remember that real estate is inherently local. Broad market trends can be influenced or even superseded by local factors like population growth, infrastructure development, and local economic conditions. Therefore, an in-depth understanding of both Melbourne and Mornington Peninsula’s local dynamics, coupled with a grasp of broader market trends, is essential for successful real estate investment. 

Fraser reiterates, “Prolonged engagement in market observation offers the advantage of cultivating the ability to make more judicious and rational decisions over extended periods. This, in turn, contributes to enhancing one’s enduring lifestyle and fortifying their financial standing.”