tim mckibbin
Properties are being sold after only virtual tours. Mr McKibbin said. Image – Canva,
  • Agents have adapted to lockdown conditions, said REINSW CEO
  • Transactions continue despite restrictions
  • Rental market continue to tighten, impacting renters and buyers

Although properties are still being purchased at historically high levels given winter, a mini-spike should be expected post lockdown, according to Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) CEO, Tim McKibbin.

While explaining that agents have adapted to the lockdown situation and buyers remain engaged, Mr McKibbin, particularly referred to examples over the past few weeks where properties have been sold sight unseen.

“Some buyers have been satisfied by a virtual tour to make an offer, which was subsequently accepted, and the parties have docu-signed on the dotted line,” he said.

“We can expect more examples of pivoting in coming weeks as agents facilitate innovative ways for buyers to make property purchases.”

Tim McKibbin, REINSW CEO

Before the lockdown, the Sydney market showed signs of cooling with prices growing, albeit at a slower pace. Nonetheless, he expects activity to increase sharply once restrictions are lifted.

“There’s a possibility that we could be set for a mini-spike when we come out of lockdown, when buyers who have had their plans temporarily interrupted re-emerge with purpose.”

Currently, in-person inspections in Greater Sydney are still allowed, however, they must be conducted by private appointment for one person. Most other lockdowns have not allowed for in-person inspections of any nature.

Given the multi-billion contribution stamp duty makes to the state coffers, it is no surprise the NSW government wishes for transactions to continue.

Rentals continue to tighten

Month-on-month, Sydney vacancies counting to tighten, a trend Mr McKibbin believes could emerge as a trend.

“It’s the middle and outer-ring suburbs that are driving the vacancy rate down; the inner-ring market has not experienced as pronounced an increase in rental demand and the latest lockdown won’t help.”

“The demand side is becoming more crowded among both buyers and renters.”

“Returning expats are joining families desiring a lifestyle change and first home buyers who have, to date, not had their buying desires satisfied, to expand the pool of demand.”

Given the complexity of the demand side, Mr McKibbin concluded his remarks by reiterating calls to boost varied supply stock.

“We need greater diversity of stock, more choices for people in terms of housing typology and price point, and we need it urgently.”

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