Buyer spike leads real estate bounceback

The buyers are out there.

That is the latest memo to Australia’s real estate industry as optimism floods back to the market.

As vendors in NSW prepare for the return of open homes and in-person auctions this weekend, crucial data from realestate.com.au has revealed that buyer interest in the market is up a remarkable 50 per cent on this time last year, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.

It’s another sure sign of the resilience of our property market.

The Block regular Frank Valentic of Advantage Property Consulting, who works as both a buyer’s agent and vendor’s advocate, is more than aware of the possibilities in the market.

“Prices have been holding up well,” he said.

“And there are always going to be a few opportunities. Family homes and the first-home buyer segments are pretty solid. There are opportunities if you are buying.

“If you’re selling, I’m telling my clients that it’s better to sell sooner rather than later.”

According to data released by Australia’s No. 1 property platform realestate.com.au, search in Victoria and South Australia is up 40 per cent on this time last year.

Year-on-year buyer search is up 50 per cent nationally. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Year-on-year buyer search is up 50 per cent nationally. Picture: AAP Image/Lukas CochSource:AAP

In NSW, the year-on-year growth is 39 per cent, while in Queensland, it has lifted 33 per cent. In WA it has improved by 49 per cent, in the Northern Territory property searches have jumped by 64 per cent, while in the ACT, searches have been boosted by 91 per cent.
 

Caught up in the lockdown

Melbourne’s Appleby family were caught between buying and selling when Australia was hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Tony, Marni, Jeremiah, 14, Miranda, 12, and their staffy Pepper had bought a home in Blackburn in Melbourne’s inner east and were set to sell theirs in nearby Huntingdale when Victoria’s lockdown came into effect.

The Applebys bridged the gap from buying to selling despite the challenges of the pandemic.

The Applebys bridged the gap from buying to selling despite the challenges of the pandemic.Source:News Corp Australia

“Every part of it was stressful purely because of what we were doing and what we were navigating through. But it all paid off in the end,” Mr Appleby said.

So much so that the Applebys’ home sold for more than it had been valued at in October.

“There were those people saying the sky was falling in and that was distressing for us because we were not seeing that but were worried how it might impact us,” Mr Appleby said.

“In the end our house sold for a good price and I see that continuing.

“Those buyers are out there.”


‘House prices won’t be affected’

The return of open homes and in-person auctions are expected to stimulate the market as Australia begins to ease its way out the coronavirus-enforced lockdown.

“The first two weeks after lockdown we witnessed a dramatic fall off in search,” realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said.


“We expected to see that continue to drop off. But after that we saw an enormous pick up in search. Part of that is that everyone is stuck at home and looking but part of it is also people looking around and thinking about their next move.”
 

Among those interested buyers are the Molloy family. Steve and Alexandra are searching for a new home for themselves and their daughters, Stella, 2 and newborn Stephanie.

“A lot of buyers are sitting on their hands and we didn’t want to do that,” Mr Molloy said.

“I don’t think house prices will be affected much by all of this and after getting married and having kids, buying a home was always the next step for us.”

The Molloys are looking for a good news story for themselves. Picture: Rohan Kelly

The Molloys are looking for a good news story for themselves. Picture: Rohan KellySource:News Corp Australia

“We have a lot of faith in the Australian property market.”

Mr Valentic said that faith in the market was well founded.

“This (COVID-19) will all be a blip in the property market long term,” he said.

“I tell my clients to always take the long term approach. Don’t be thinking about what the property will be worth in six months. We have seen moderate gains but we have not been getting runaway prices with five and six groups bidding.

“COVID-19 has been a big event for the property market. But it has rebounded before and will rebound again.”