There isn’t an industry that hasn’t been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some are thriving, such as homewares centres, while others have suffered a serious downturn.
Real estate is one of the industries to experience some fairly dramatic changes during the past few months with open-house inspections banned and auctions moved online. While restrictions have started easing, economic uncertainty has had a huge impact on buyers and sellers. But it’s not necessarily what you would expect from a major economic crisis. So are we still in a sellers’ market? Or has the power shifted to buyers?
“Stock levels are very low at present,” says Independent sales agent Mark Larmer. “I’ve gone from 8-10 new sellers a week to two-to-three new sellers, but there are still a lot of buyers out there. Most available properties have sold or are selling within a few days of listing so the industry needs stock badly.”
Mark says sellers are uncertain if this is a good time to sell or not, and are holding on to see what happens. As a result, the low supply of competing properties is leading to strong buyer demand. In many sectors this is strengthening, or at least maintaining, prices.
Data released in late April showed a 4.4 per cent increase in Canberra house prices since the same time in 2019. Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the property market, house prices aren’t taking the hit that’s been projected.
Canberra’s strong public service workforce and resulting lower unemployment levels – compared to other Australian states – coupled with government and bank support means there is not an increasing supply of distressed sellers flooding the market. As a result, house values have remained strong.
“Houses are performing better than townhouses, which are performing better than units,” says Mark. “This is primarily related to the lower supply of houses as compared to units, which was the same prior to COVID-19.”
The current sellers’ market might not remain for long.
“One thing that may occur when this blows over is the herd mentality approach,” says Mark. “Lots of sellers who have been holding off to wait and see may all decide to sell at the same time and flood the market. This could actually lower prices in the short-term as buyers would have lots more options to select from and could negotiate from a stronger position.”
Mark says if you are not comfortable with the thought of putting your home on the market during this time, there are still steps you can take to be ready when things return to normal:
- Get an online home appraisal to give you some idea of what your house could sell for.
- Engage an agent early so you can hit the market quickly.
- Complete all maintenance issues – your agent can advise on what should be done before you sell.
- Clean, declutter, stage and style the property.
If you would like to speak to an agent for some commitment-free advice about selling your home right now, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check out Independent’s online appraisal page where you can get a free, instant estimate of the sale price of your home, no strings attached.
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