In this local market, Covid-19 isn't deterring buyers

By Samantha Thorne

Australian real estate agents are still getting listings and fantastic sales results, despite the effect that Coronavirus has had on the way the real estate industry operates.

David Moxon, principal and auctioneer from Barry Plant North Eastern Group in Melbourne, is just one agent who is continuing to sell properties undeterred due to a steady stream of buyer interest.

Amongst those properties was 21 Plenty Views Boulevard in Plenty, Victoria, which sold for a cool $2.65 million last Saturday. 

The facade of 21 Plenty Views Boulevard which sold for $2.65 million last Saturday.

Mr Moxon says that buyers are still active in the current market, and they’re still approaching his agency to view properties despite the current restrictions on open-for-inspections. 

“We’re still getting a lot of good enquiries. We’ve had about 12 private inspections today alone,” he said. 

david moxon barry plant
Agent David Moxon is still getting plenty of enquries, conducting 12 private inspections in one day.

With agents now moving to private inspections to comply with the latest government enforced social distancing rules, sanitary precautions above all else is becoming the norm. 

“The health and safety of our clients and staff is important, so we’re definitely practising social distancing, with only one person allowed through the house at a time. We’re getting there early, providing hand sanitiser, gloves and wipes if people want to open up any of the doors.

“We’re getting a lot of enquiries, so when we get them in bulk, rather than going back and forth all the time, we’re structuring private inspections at 15 minute intervals."

“With these back-to-back inspections, it’s the best use of everyone's time.

"We're of course taking all precautions necessary, and before any buyer attends a private inspection, we send an informational PDF around social distancing compliance to make sure they’re aware of what they need to do,” Mr Moxon said. 

According to Mr Moxon, after the latest Job Keeper stimulus package that was announced earlier this week, the dark cloud hovering over the market seems to have somewhat lifted, especially on his turf of Northern Melbourne. 

Mr Moxon says buyers are still looking for their dream home, regardless of Covid-19 or a potential lack of listings into the future. To a degree they have been encouraged to act after the stimulus announcement which has created more of a safe space.

“People are feeling a bit more optimistic now that they know they’re potentially going to have a regular income for at least the next six months. This stimulus package has set a good foundation for more financial security. 

“And we’re still seeing great results,” he said.

watsonia north real estate
This property in Watsonia North and is currently under offer, selling for $770,000 despite the pandemic.

With finances being approved and interest rates being the lowest they’ve been in history, buyers who have had approval are ready to pounce in other parts of the country as well. 

The government is extending support for first-home buyers by providing an extension of an additional 90 days to the loan scheme if a property isn’t secured within the first 90 days. 

This means those who have had approval are going to push forward with their plans to buy before that approval runs out. And a further 10,000 places for the loan scheme are set to be released in July this year.

Mr Moxon says it’s important to be positive and maintain a bit of perspective during this time. 

“We will get back to where we were. The marketplace just before this was in such a strong position.

“It was a fairly heated marketplace throughout February and most of March. What we’ve seen is that the heat has come out of the marketplace, but it’s just moved back to a more even market,” he said.

With the environment in a constant state of flux, and changes coming into effect within a moment’s notice, Mr Moxon has found his local community to be quite positive and resilient.

“The community and general public are great. Those looking to sell or buy are obviously well-informed and aware of these new rules and restrictions.

“There’s good community spirit and we all recognise that times have changed. It might sound cliche, but we really are all in this together, and Australians have always come together really well. Even the Aussie sense of humour is shining through. 

“It’s all very, very serious, but we are still able to smile, respect each other, put our heads down, and just work to get through it. That’s the Australian spirit,” said Mr Moxon.

When it comes to the future, no-one has a crystal ball, but according to Mr Moxon, he believes business processes will definitely change as vendors, buyers and agents increasingly build their trust in online platforms. 

 
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“We will all learn from this. The lay of the land will change once we get through this pandemic,” he said. 

And if you’re selling, according to Mr Moxon there are still plenty of options on the table. 

“As agents, it’s important that we still offer the customer every option of selling, whether you choose to go down an online auction route, or a private sale is up to you, but we will provide that guidance. Off-market sales are also happening. 

“It’s simply our job to help you achieve what you want to in the time frame you want to. We’ve got to be confident and resilient to help make that happen,” he said.

With more sales in the pipeline, a stream of virtual appraisals, and a bunch of online auctions scheduled for the 18th of April, Mr Moxon is well-placed to give this advice to sellers, “we’re still seeing good solid results for vendors, and the properties that are selling have been presented well and the sellers have had realistic expectations.”

 

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