• September 1, 2021

As politicians and the media attempted to keep us in a state of fear during August, our high level of interaction with people in the community suggested the vast majority of us got on with our daily lives in the best way possible given the very limited privileges available to us. Granted our regions are not in ‘hard lockdown’ but the streets were alive with activity – kids riding bikes and people walking dogs. There was a genuine sense of community spirit and an eagerness to be more kind to our neighbours, ask if people are ok, support local businesses and generally focus on health, both physical and mental. These lockdowns create plenty of frustration however there are some upsides that most of us would like to continue as we move towards what used to be normal life, such as living at a slower pace, taking time to be thankful and enjoying our community.

With lifestyle and community in mind, this is where we have continued to experience a significant uplift in the property market. No one is really sure what international travel looks like at this stage, in fact, most of us would love just to take a holiday within our own state at this point. With the unknown about travel lingering, how and where we’ll be working in the future and what schooling is going to look like for years to come, we’re continually looking inward and reflecting on where and how we live on a daily basis. Through August our enquiry levels for property surged forward and as we went deeper into lockdown, buyer urgency and intensity to secure a home actually increased. We certainly witnessed this with the auction clearance rate which continued to climb in August, reaching a peak level that was on par with the highest clearance rate Sydney had recorded all year. That said, the volume of property trading has dropped by 60% compared to March when the market was firing on all cylinders.

Inspecting a property to purchase or lease was one of the few privileges our political overlords advised was permissible but you have to wonder about the motivation given stamp duty in such a heated market is propping up a significant part of the NSW economy. Yet this is Sydney and the people’s passion for property means that they didn’t need a second chance to get out of the house and go and look at anything that half resembled a property of potential interest. Given that we were doing one-on-one inspections at 10-15 minute intervals, it was not uncommon for us to be at a single residence for three, four or even five hours just to accommodate the high volume of inspection requests. And this wasn’t just Saturdays either – with most people working from home every day feels like a Saturday during lockdown and we’re seriously busy all week with property inspections.

As we pushed through huge volumes of viewings, we noticed that the sale process started to compress. No longer do we require a traditional four-week auction campaign as buyers can inspect a property of interest three or four times in a matter of days as opposed to waiting for set open times. Our average auction timeframe during August was just 17 days which reflects a compressed selling timeframe and highlights the fact that buyers can move fast. We continued to see properties selling for an average of 11% above the set reserve, indicating to us that prices continued to climb during the month. Loan pre-approvals are still growing according to the nation’s largest lender, CBA, and this would suggest that the property market still has some legs. The only thing we don’t know is what’s around the corner and if we’ve learnt anything over the past 18 months it’s to expect the unexpected. Bring on the warmer weather we say!

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