shadow house
Spring is being covered by a Covid-induced shadow. Image – Canva.
  • The usual spring influx of new properties is not happening
  • Listings are down 20% to 40%, said REIA President, Adrian Kelly
  • Mr Kelly has called for a National Housing Plan

Spring – so often the traditional ‘selling season’ in real estate – is telling a different story this year.

Mainly due to the extended lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria – which also included restrictions on inspections – new property stock has not exactly been springing onto the market.

“Melbourne estate agents have been closed for business with spring auction campaigns shelved although the recent allowance of inspections should ease that pain, somewhat,” explained Adrian Kelly, president of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

Adrian Kelly REIA President
Adrian Kelly, REIA President. Photo – REIA.

“Sydney agents are still trading but under very much imposed conditions. Canberra agents have only just seen restrictions eased while in other jurisdictions agents are still trying to operate normally.”

Adrian Kelly, REIA

Mr Kelly said that in spite of low interest rates, an influx of new properties isn’t reaching the market. Spring listings are currently down by 20% to 40% nationally.

Although listings are down, buyer demand is still high – by Mr Kelly’s reckoning, many agents could have sold individual properties five to ten times over.

Auction clearance rates – outside of Melbourne – remain very high, for example.

“This is the silver lining… for those sellers that do go to market now they are achieving premium prices due to low levels of competitive properties and pent up buyer demand.”

According to Mr Kelly, there is a large cohort of sellers who would normally go to market but are sitting on the sidelines due to lockdowns or the difficulty of purchasing something at the other end of the transaction due to intense competition.

In particular, he singled out retirees living in large family homes who intend on downsizing.

“We are at a stalemate until we reach more vaccinations and a return to some sort of normality,” he said.

“Perhaps the usual spring selling season will be somewhat shelved and we will look forward to a  revitalised summer selling season. Either way, the demand for Australian property still remains very strong and sale prices are continuing to rise.”

Mr Kelly concluded his remarks by reiterating calls for the federal government to focus on a National Housing Plan to address issues such as housing affordability for first home buyers through addressing stamp duty costs.

“Everybody needs somewhere to live and you can’t live in a share portfolio,” concluded Mr Kelly.

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