Can I still buy or sell property during COVID-19?
Short answer: yes, it is still possible to buy and sell property!
That said, the government has put into place several rules and regulations around social distancing which real estate agents must abide by. This means we have to follow a slightly different process for everyone’s health and safety. We will be embracing virtual online tours, conducting private inspections for open homes and carrying out online auctions.
What rules apply to buying or selling property right now?
The situation has been changing fast but at the time of writing there are the general rules guiding the real estate sector:
– Inspections need to be conducted one-on-one and by appointment only. This applies to both sales and rentals. Where possible, masks and hand sanitizer should be used. You can read our full property inspection policy here.
– On-site or in-room auctions can no longer go ahead due to social distancing rules. As a result, you’ll notice that many of our properties are now listed for sale rather than auction. Those that will proceed to auction, such as this stunning family home in Killara, will be auctioned online. Online auctions aren’t new – we’ve been using them for many years and have achieved some excellent results for our clients. They also follow exactly the same process just through a different medium.
– It’s still possible to move home during COVID-19, as moving house is considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ that does not breach the current NSW Public Health Orders.
Do tenants still have to pay rent?
The NSW state government, like other states and territories, has agreed to a six-month moratorium on evicting tenants who are suffering financial distress due to COVID-19.
REIA President, Adrian Kelly, explains:
“A moratorium on evictions doesn’t mean rent is not payable, it is. If circumstances mean that payment in full is not possible it is a holding off from payments, not a cancellation,” said Mr Kelly. “It is for people who cannot pay at this time, not for those that can.”
The government is encouraging landlords and real estate agents to negotiate with tenants where needed over rents and to come to mutually agreeable solutions.
What impact will COVID-19 have on the property market?
Before COVID-19 hit, the 2020 property market was off to a great start. CoreLogic figures show that property prices across Sydney rose 4.9% in the three months to February 2020. So we’re hopeful that once COVID-19 passes the property market will continue this upwards trajectory.
Despite the lull, the property market has not seen the immediate, huge slump that the share market suffered.
While it’s too early to predict any long term impact, Cameron Kusher, executive director, economic research at realestate.com.au, has pinpointed what he believes is the main issue in Sydney’s real estate market:
“The challenge facing the housing market, at this stage, is confidence,” he explains.
There’s no denying that over the past few weeks Sydney’s overall auction clearance rate has dropped and we’re seeing less stock on the market. But many properties are still selling above their reserve prices or selling fast pre-auction.
Despite the air of uncertainty, it’s not a bad time to buy property, with record low interest rates and the banks still lending. It really depends on whether it’s a good time for you to make a move both personally and financially.
If you’re looking for a home in a great suburb on Sydney’s Upper North Shore contact our team today.