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  • NSW continues to set high bars through latest Covid outbreak

NSW continues to set high bars through latest Covid outbreak

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At halfway through 2021, the gains seen in the Sydney and wider NSW markets continue to be astonishing. 

The median dwelling price in Sydney over the past six months has shot up +15.4 per cent in just six months, while regional NSW homes are up an eye-watering +21.1 per cent year on year. 

The latest Sydney lockdown, which hasn't turned out to be the short restriction burst that was first hoped, will likely shake things up in the coming weeks, but with the industry now being better prepared for such an interruption, it doesn't mean everything grinds to a halt. 

In fact, some Sydney agents are still setting new high bars, while regional markets continue to benefit from buyers looking to escape the big city. 

We spoke to a couple of the state's top agents to get the scoop on some recent standout sales. 

North West Sydney home sells for record price despite lockdown

Shiv Nair of Harcourts Hills Living in Baulkham Hills has had one of his best starts to a listing month despite the growing Covid restrictions. 

"The market is strong, and we're still receiving and attracting high levels of buyer enquiries as soon as we launch homes to the market," he says.

3 Jakob Way in the north-western suburb of Glenwood sold under the digital hammer earlier in July after Greater Sydney's lockdown was introduced mid-way through the selling campaign. 

3 Jakob Way, Glenwood
3 Jakob Way managed to achieve a suburb record despite having some drawbacks. Source: Harcourts Hills Living

The four-bed, two-bath, two-car house, while having a desirable open-plan layout, a tasteful modern renovation and a beautiful outdoor entertaining area, also presented some key challenges. 

"It was only on a 354sqm block of land, which is a very small block of land considering all the other blocks in the suburb are about 500sqm," Mr Nair explains. 

It also backed right onto one of the area's busiest main roads, Old Windsor Rd, and was situated in a less desirable school catchment area—all factors that would typically act as a deterrent to some buyers. 

Despite the pain points, the property was attracting substantial interest from families and was being buoyed by a strong marketing campaign that focused heavily on social media.

Then, as the auction date was approaching, the Covid outbreak hit and Sydney found itself in lockdown for the first time in over 12 months. 

"We flipped our campaign and the way we run inspections, and we made it as easy as possible for more buyers to inspect the property," Mr Nair says. 

"Instead of me having a 30-minute slot for them on the weekend, we were allocating two or three hours on a whole day where one agent shows as many buyers as possible through those properties one-on-one."

3 Jakob Way, Glenwood
The beautiful alfresco entertaining area of 3 Jakob Way was a key selling point. Source: Harcourts Hills Living

The in-person auction had to be taken into the online realm at short notice, but having kept that momentum up there were still six registered bidders on the day ready to battle it out over Zoom.

Mr Nair and his team on the phone with each individual bidder to talk them through the process and to work the virtual room, and through some expert negotiating they managed to effect a sale of $1.315 million, a suburb record for a block of that size. 

It proved that expectations can still be exceeded even in lockdown conditions. 

"Overall it was a great campaign, a great result, and the owners are relieved," Mr Nair says. "They had bought a property as well and they needed to sell, so they are very grateful that we achieved the result we did, in the timeframe we did."

Rural Byron property scores huge price after years on the market

Christian Sergiacomi, who runs Pacifico Property in Byron Bay, has seen the surrounding market go from strength to strength in recent years, and especially since the pandemic hit. 

"Anything that's going at the moment, the owners are selling because they're after top price," he says. "And then there seems to be someone stepping up and taking that top-shelf piece happily."

That was the case with 448 Old Byron Bay Rd in Newrybar, a 6.8-acre property that had been on and off the market for close to ten years, making it one of the longest listed properties in the region. 

48 Old Byron Bay Rd, Newrybar
The stunning 448 Old Byron Bay Rd estate offered an unbeatable plot in a sought-after location. Source: Pacifico Property

Sitting atop a ridgeline with stunning 180-degree views of the ocean, the land boasted two original, if run-down, cottages totalling five bedrooms that the owner had been renting out as accommodation. 

"Every agency had it over its time, and at some times it was openly listed," Mr Sergiacomi explains. "But for whatever reason, no one could ever sell it. People just didn't gel with it. They were looking too much at just the properties on there, not the parcel of land."

With the market being as red hot as it has been over the past 12 months, though, and especially buyers from Sydney and Melbourne, who are looking for more space and an idyllic climate, have sent the local market into a frenzy. 

After the owners of 448 had been chasing a $7 million sale for their property for such a long time, a buyer came in and purchased the acreage for a staggering $11 million. 

Another nearby property, 282 Skinners Shoot Rd in Skinners Shoot, sealed a similar fate after several agencies struggled to sell the home over three or four years. 

"It's a beautiful lifestyle home, one of the oldest houses in the region, an original homestead on ten acres only four minutes from Byron Bay," he recounts. 

228 Skinners Shoot Rd, Skinners Shoot
282 Skinners Shoot Rd boasted an idyllic setting for those looking for a total lifestyle refresh. Source: Pacifico Property

After prior failed attempts to find a buyer for the home in the high-four to low-five million dollar range, the latest rush turned in a massive result of close to $10 million.

"People in the rural sector are saying 'oh my god, I can't ignore that the house down the street got ten, another one got seven, and it's probably worth four," he says. "So they're thinking, 'I've got to give this a shot.'

"You've never seen so many properties that don't have a price, they just say 'contact agent' and 'expressions of interest', because we just don't know how to price them. There's an appraised valuation, then there's what someone's prepared to pay, and they're very different."

As to why homes in the Byron area are fetching such incredible prices, Mr Sergiacomi notes "there are plenty of places that you can spend a lot less than $11 million to get some space." 

He says it comes down to a totally fresh lifestyle choice, where people can have the kind of privacy and freedom a rural property provides while still being minutes away from fine restaurants, beautiful beaches, great coffee and a world-class industrial hub that he calls "Australia's Silicon Valley."

What's next for the Sydney and NSW markets?

Mr Nair remains confident about how the coming weeks will unfold under lockdown conditions, suggesting that buyers are already adapting to the new restrictions and are still showing an eagerness to move forward on purchasing their next dream home. 

His advice to vendors is to make sure they're maximising the presentation of their homes to be sure they're having the best possible impact on buyers who may have limited access to the physical property.

Shiv Nair of Harcourts Hills Living
Shiv Nair, one of Harcourts Hills Living's top agents. 

He does, however, caution that he expects a pullback in growth later in the year as a new wave of stock comes to the market in the spring.

"What we've noticed is that the buyer aggressiveness has slowed," he says. "The number of buyers inspecting properties has slightly reduced as well, without compromising price.

"I think if people are thinking of selling, their whole goal should be to try to get to market ASAP. Ideally July, August, September. Because I think from October onwards, we might see a slight correction if the predicted number of homes do come to the market."

For now, he says buyers are already adapting to the new restrictions and are still showing an eagerness to move forward on purchasing their next dream home. 

As far as Byron is concerned, Mr Sergiacomi thinks the way demand is still heavily outweighing stock means there's more room for the market to climb. 

"I'm a realist and I keep thinking the only thing that will slow this is a reduction of buyers, if we end up running out of people that are coming out of cities at the top end," he says.

Christian Sergiacomi of Pacifico Property
Christian Sergiacomi with Brad Cranfield, the team behind Pacifico Property. 

It seems, though, that more local owners are succumbing to the huge prices being offered. 

"We thought the market will stop because there'll be nothing to buy. But we've been getting listings and sales still happening now."

And with Covid outbreaks throwing capital cities into varying states of disarray, there could be plenty more buyers out there looking to trade in their metropolitan residence without having to sacrifice the metropolitan lifestyle. 

"No matter who you are, you want your coffee spot down the road. You can get your hit, but then duck back into your burrow."