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Informed Sellers Coming To Market Now

By Rachel Wallace

INFORMED sellers know that now is a great opportunity to sell as the competition is light with stock low but buyers remain on the hunt.

Since the start of the lockdown in Sydney, average registered bidders have jumped 25 per cent higher which shows despite the restrictions buyers have embraced online auctions.

Ray White agents also say buyers also prefer one on one private inspections and their appetite to buy a property remains as strong as ever.

Super agent Gavin Rubinstein of Ray White TRG said there was no doubt that right now was the best time to sell purely based on the fact that buyers have all time record low options in terms of listings and all time record high enquiry.

“A majority of people want to wait until lockdown is over to sell, which would suggest there will be increased choice potentially flattening the curve on increasing prices. My view is to sell now rather than in competition when lockdown is over,” Mr Rubinstein said.

“The right professional approach and strategy can navigate through the covid restrictions and can create a successful sale outcome.”

Since June 25, average registered bidders at online auctions across Sydney jumped to 8 per property for sale under the virtual hammer, compared to 6 bidders in the month prior to the lockdown.

Like many Sydneysiders, Julie Davaine and her growing family need more space and are planning to upgrade from the 2/8 Fletcher St, Bondi apartment. They listed their home this week with Ray White Woollahra director Clay Brodie and said they made the decision because of the recent high demand for Bondi properties.

“We’ve seen that the market has been very strong at the moment and because we’ve decided to move a bit further away and upsize, we realised it’s better to do it now when can still afford it because if we do it in a couple of years time we might not be able to,” Ms Davaine said.

“We initially had concerns about selling in lockdown but after speaking to Clay we were quite happy with the measures that were being taken and feel it’s quite safe.”

Likewise Robbie Awad is going on the market himself in Quakers Hill. Mr Awad’s business helps sellers get ready to list through his company Outright Property Solutions but in two weeks time he’ll be on the other side of the transaction.

Mr Awad has made the decision to sell his 5 Bombala Cres, Quakers Hill home with Ray White Castle Hill agents Sara Perry and Karl Anthony because he wants to take advantage of the lack of competition from other sellers in his area.

“I’m listing my home now because there are less than half the amount of properties usually on the market in my suburb and I am seeing houses sell the same day they are listed because buyers are eager to snap them up. My gut is telling me now is the time list because we don’t know what’s going to happen in the next few months,” Mr Awad said.

“I know there are buyers out there right now looking in my area and willing to purchase so I want to take advantage of that because you don’t if they will still be out there if you wait.”

Ray White Newtown agent Tina O’Connor said buyers  loved one on one inspections as “they get their own time in the property”.

On July 1, amid the lockdown, Ms O’Connor sold four properties at an online auction for more than  $7 million with a mammoth 74 registered bidders in total.

“Buyer demand is still quite high among locals. The only difference I am seeing right now is we are not meeting the neighbours who are out walking their dogs at the time of an open and happen to pop in,” Ms O’Connor said.

“The buyers we are meeting right now are very keen and serious about buying. We’re still listing property and prices are still good, we haven’t seen any difference in the prices yet. I don’t know if we will as the energy in the market is still good now.

“If people were thinking of selling in the lockdown I would definitely say, go now. We don’t know what’s around the corner and if Europe is anything to go by then the lockdown may get extended again, and again. Who knows what the future holds?”

Ray White Newtown principal Harry Psaradellis and Tina O’Connor sold 9 Bruce St, Stanmore on July 1 for $1.961 million with 38 registered bidders, and 10 of them active in the auction.

Ms O’Connor said the online format works seamlessly as her team has the process down pat.

Ray White Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee has analysed what happened to Melbourne during it’s 112 day lockdown and the parallels that could be drawn for what is happening in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide right now.

Sydney has been in lockdown since the end of June, Melbourne since mid July and Adelaide has just started. At this stage, all of these are still far less than what occurred in Melbourne which went into Stage 4 lockdown for 112 days. Here is what happened during Melbourne’s lockdown and what happened afterwards.

“The biggest certainty we have around the lockdowns is that properties for sale will decline and that at the end, we will see a jump in listings post lockdown. Depending on how long this goes for, we could be in for the strongest spring on record when measured by properties available for sale,” Ms Conisbee said.

Across the Ray White network in Greater Sydney new listings dropped 38 per cent in the last week, compared to a year ago. Listing authorities are down 29 per cent across Australia compared to the same week last year. Victoria is also down 38 per cent from last year. In SA they are down 22 per cent. And although Queensland hasn’t been hit with lockdowns, seller sentiment has led to a decline of 21 per cent from the same time last year.

But remember the number of listing authorities through the Ray White network in Victoria halved from the start of the lockdown to the start of September. From here however, the number gradually picked up. By the end of September, they were back to 2019 levels.

Ray White auction data also shows that since the lockdown started in Sydney, sellers who proceeded to take their property to auction received on average 12.41 per cent more under the hammer than if they’d have sold prior.

The sales vary from a 30 per cent premium sale price in Yagoona at 224 Rose St where sellers received $1.153 million during a spirited online auction to Tina O’Connor’s property at 118 Albion St, Annandale where her sellers received 27 per cent more than the highest offer prior to receive $2.880 million under the virtual hammer on July 1.

Ray White Managing Director Dan White said the Sydney real estate industry as a whole was very fortunate to still be able to operate in a very limited manner amid tightening restrictions.

“We have many clients that need to move properties for fundamental reasons – be it illness, divorce or other hardships like unemployment. Some have sold properties and are yet to buy their next home, some have bought a new home but haven’t sold their current property.

“We will be constantly reviewing how we operate to ensure we meet or exceed changing government and community standards.  There will be no shortcuts.”

Ray White NSW CEO Andrew McCulloch said the front doors of all real estate businesses are locked to the public, and staff are now working remotely outside of office premises unless there is a genuine reason to be in the office.

“Our members are highly experienced at virtual property tours, one on one inspections and online auctions where the auctioneer will call for bids from bidders watching on their computers,” McCulloch said.

Another agent who has embraced the covid style selling was Ray White Balmain agent Benjamin Martin who last Saturday virtually signed up 13 registered bidders and sold Loft 16 Thames St, Balmain for $1.190 million to a local owner occupier. His seller Erin Benjamin was watching online over zoom as she had moved to Mount Tamborine in south-east Queensland.

Mr Martin said the lockdown hadn’t affected the campaign and prior to the closure he took 17 groups through the apartment while he completed 51 private inspections afterwards.

“There hasn’t been any decrease in the level of buyer demand on this property because of the rarity of the block,” Mr Martin said.

“I have embraced the covid restrictions as it helped me build a strong rapport with all my buyers. Buyers love private inspections. The framework shows people that we can still sell safely in this environment and smart sellers know there’s less competition right now.”

Seller Erin Benjamin said had no hesitation in selling via an online auction as she had full confidence in her agent, Benjamin Martin.

“We had such confidence in Benjamin as we had sold and tried to buy through him before too but I was a tiny bit unsure how the format was going to go but it works so well.” Erin and her husband moved to Mt Tamborine before the first lockdown last year, seeking a lifestyle tree change.

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