COVID-19 And The Eastern Suburbs Property Market

The impact of the coronavirus has been fast and sudden and it has already had a huge impact on all parts of our lives and work.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling in the current market in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs here’s what you need to know.

The impact of COVID-19 on the eastern suburbs property market

As we wrote in our recent market report, before COVID-19 hit the Sydney property market was strong. But over the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen a dramatic drop in the overall auction clearance rate, as well as less stock coming on the market in some areas.

Despite consumer confidence naturally decreasing during these uncertain times, we’ve still sold many properties above their reserve prices, often pre-auction or off-market.

Right now, we feel it’s too premature to forecast the long term impact of the pandemic on the property market. However, so far it hasn’t been a victim of the big falls we’ve seen in the share market and we’re hopeful it won’t suffer the same losses as lower stock levels will reduce any gap between supply and demand.

The real estate industry during COVID-19

Like almost every industry across the country, real estate has had to make some adjustments to the way we conduct business.

To protect everyone’s health and safety, real estate agents must adhere to the government’s regulations around social distancing. This means many of our challenges have been logistical, rather than market-based, over the past few weeks.

What has changed with the process of buying and selling property?

In many ways, it’s business as usual. We can still hold open homes and auctions, although we’ve had to make a few changes in the way we run them.

  • All open home inspections are now by private appointment only. Because social gatherings are limited to two people we can only show one person though a property at any one time (ie one of us plus one prospective buyer). Sadly, we had to get out of the habit of shaking hands and we must keep a 1.5-metre distance from everyone. We also ensure the property is well-ventilated and that hand sanitizer is available.
  • We’ve always heavily invested in film but we’re increasing our use of virtual tours and videos of property, to give prospective buyers a better sense of how a property feels even when they’re not physically there .
  • Public auctions - on-site or in-room - can no longer go ahead but thanks to technology we can still successfully auction properties online. Online auctions operate in the same way as traditional auctions. For us, it’s common to have buyers bid via phone or online if they’re overseas, interstate or simply want to fly under the radar, so it’s something we’re already quite used to.
  • As an alternative to auctions, we continue to sell properties by expressions of interest, which acts as a more considered tendering process in the style of a silent auction.
  • Other than the social distancing rules around open home inspections, private treaty sales are unaffected by any changes, so we can all proceed as normal with the sales process.
  • Off-market sales have always been a key part of our business and we continue to connect buyers and sellers in this way during COVID-19.

What buyers need to know

Despite the uncertainty, if you are financially secure this is not a bad time to buy. Interest rates are at historic lows and the banks are still lending.

We still have a really good number of properties listed with us and more are still coming onto the market. These range from entry-level units to luxury homes. You’ll just need to be prepared for a slightly different experience at open homes, with private one-on-one viewings by appointment only.

Now is also a good time to register with us for off-market opportunities, as many sellers prefer this more discreet method of sale.

What sellers need to know

We’re working with a lot of serious buyers who are still actively looking for property. In particular, we’ve been speaking to a lot of investors and other buyers who want to take advantage of the current low-interest rates and get into property while the stock market is so volatile. So there are still buyers out there, very keen to purchase.

We appreciate that many prospective sellers may have fears about selling during COVID-19. We recommend sellers do their research and consult a financial advisor, mortgage broker and real estate agent, to help decide if it’s the right time to sell.

In a changing market, it’s even more important that you work with an agent who has great communication skills. You should also make sure they have a depth of experience, having seen the ups and downs of the market over the longer term.

Want more?

If you’re looking to buy or sell property in Sydney’s eastern suburbs contact my team today.

Download our 2018/2019
Eastern Suburbs Market Report

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