The Naked Truth

How’s buying or selling right now amid pandemic?

Despite the emerging outcomes of this ongoing pandemic that left the world unarmed and unprotected, people are becoming resilient, if not observant, in dealing with this enigma that is threatening everybody’s life. The idea of buying or selling a house is already one of life’s more stressful events; how much more doing it in a global pandemic.

With this fragmentary dilemma, the real estate industry has been turned on its head over the last two months and currently, Australia is still facing this havoc that intimidated a lot of business transactions. Either way, here are some of the naked truths that will give us a headstart on what is really happening right now in the real estate industry.

Houses are still for sale

Amid the ban on real estate auctions and open house inspections, that cannot continue, houses are up for sale online. It is still expected that private inspections can continue and that there will be a steep rise in virtual tours. The announcement is following the national cabinet meeting where Mr. Morrison addressed the media where he confirmed a series of new restrictions are set to be applied as part of the government’s efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 on Australian realms. However, “while online auctions are allowed, very few are going ahead, with the vast majority switching to private treaty.”

Adrian Kelly
REIA President

According to Adrian Kelly, from the peak body Real Estate Institute of Australia, “It’s really only about 20 percent of properties that would have gone to auction which are still going to auction, and that’s quite an optimistic number.”

By this instance, you can either do a private appointment with just the agent or you can do a virtual tour. Agents have to follow strict hygiene practices including social distancing, providing hand sanitizer and close supervision of any attendees. Also, agent Kirsty Cunningham from YPA says most of her vendors are happy to not have sticky-beakers and neighbours popping by.

She added: “I think our sellers are really happy with no open for inspections and only having people through they know are 100 per cent ready to go.”

The market has not enough houses

Though houses are still for sale, but not as many as this time last year, says experts. The changes have led to a surge in withdrawals, with people scared of selling in an unstable market as recession looms and job losses hit almost a million.

“We’ve noticed a lowering of the number of properties on the market as some sellers decide to wait until this situation is over,” Mr Kelly says with a connotation that it’s likely sales will be down by half in the May and June figures. He also added that “It’s also become more difficult for purchasers in different states to buy in other states.”

Rufina Djo
Elders Real Estate Agent

On the other hand, another agent shared the same thought. “When I say slow, people do not want to look. The phone just sort of died,” Western Sydney agent Rufina Djo said as there are hardly any buyers.

“We’ve had no sales for the month at all. They can’t get the prices they want and people are not looking. Because everybody feels like, ‘why do I have to spend hundreds of thousands when I don’t even have a stable job?'” she added.

However, New South Wales allowed auctions and opens again. Ms. Djo is delighted by the news saying, “It’s good news for us — it’s almost like a floodgate has been opened for us.”

The current situation is still unstable

Though it can’t be denied that sales are affected in this pandemic, some people are still optimistic that everything could be manageable through time.

Downsizer Paul Terawskyi’s has been bought and sold during the past few weeks. His house in the outer Melbourne suburb of Werribee was supposed to go to auction just before the ban. He was disappointed but decided not to withdraw the property from sale.

“You just have to go with the flow — there’s nothing you can do about it, no point getting upset about it,” Mr Terawskyi said as he sold his house in a private sale for more than he was asking for. He’s one of the lucky ones.

Moreover, with the economic devastation shaped by the rapid onset of COVID-19 pandemic, the world around us keeps changing fast and agents are trying to adapt with this “new normal” despite this unstable state.

The world is changing because of this pandemic and no person is exempted from its effects, but right now, let us try to be more optimistic, if not hopeful, that we could make it through despite the threat.

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