FROM FOMO TO FEAR OF OVERPAYING: The power of perception on housing prices

Internet memes have been described as ‘leaflet propaganda’ of the digital age.

You’ve likely encountered one, or a thousand… on your newsfeed, in a message – or from having someone else’s phone nudged under your nose for a moment of amusement.  

Nine times out of ten, they’re relatable. And other than just the ability to make you laugh, they all share one thing in common – they’re a persuasive means of spreading a message.

Just like this one here, for instance.

On the surface, it’s a harmless dig about time wasted on an unrealistic market perception. But underneath that, it’s a compelling reminder of the consequences (albeit, slightly exaggerated), of waiting for property prices to decline.

So how is this fear generated anyway?

Well, obviously we can’t blame the world of memes for the current epidemic of buyer fear in Greater Sydney. However, there’s a lot to be said about the power of perception – from news headlines, from social media, from what your neighbour believes to be true – and how this can influence the real estate market.

The reality is, when it comes to buying or selling, the greatest impact on property prices isn’t just from interest rates, Covid or the economy alone. In many cases, what people think about the market and their perceived risk, is the larger force to blame.

This was certainly the case with buyer FOMO that swept across Greater Sydney last year, as panicked buyers took to the market to snap up what they thought they’d miss out on if they waited. The result – a boom in buyer demand, and steadily rising prices.

While this year, what we’ve started to see is buyers gradually becoming more apprehensive, in perceiving the risk of spending too much. When this occurs in the market cycle, sellers tend to hesitate before listing their home, which reduces the availability of housing stock for buyers to purchase.

The real estate market requires consumer confidence to perform well – and when there’s a confidence issue, property prices are directly affected. 

So perhaps the next time you scroll past that meme on your news feed, just ask yourself: what’s the contrary? Should I really be thinking the same as everyone else?

Prudential Real Estate Campbelltown | (02) 4628 0033 |

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