The Impact of the Lockdown on Property Prices

The property prices in Newcastle look to benefit even more from the current COVID lockdown.

Because of the restrictions, people can no longer spend money on restaurants, bars or international travels. People are spending more time in their homes and research shows time searching for homes and investment opportunities is on the increase. This could push home values even more.

For most of last year, prices were driven more by owner-occupiers and not so much by investors. But as this years lockdowns continue, more and more investors are returning to the market.  One of the driving influencers is because investors tend to purchase properties without seeing it and base their interest on numbers. And the rental return numbers are going up making it more enticing.  Meanwhile, homeowners prefer to check out the property because they want to reside in it.

The ‘saver effect’ (saving and not spending) was felt significantly towards the end of 2020 and in the early days of 2021, when home prices soared to record levels.  Then in June, Greater Sydney went back into lockdown and Newcastle followed weeks later.  Because of these current lockdowns, it is anticipated that people are still saving and are looking to spend on property.

People’s outlook towards property is generally more positive than other forms of investing, especially for those who have had earnings, who had been able to save since the pandemic began and all due to the fact that they hadn’t taken holidays abroad, haven’t travelled interstate and have not spent on entertainment.

They are looking at where their life is currently: some are going into investment properties and others are purchasing in regional or coastal suburbs because they desire a lifestyle change.

People are checking their money and thinking of what to spend it on and a lot of them are looking at Newcastle.

If you want to know what your property is worth in the current market, call Annette Pinkerton today!

The Rising Popularity of Touchless Technology in the Home

Touchless tech is rising in popularity, even more so now as it fits perfectly with our pandemic lifestyle, where the norm is to interact with objects and people at a safe distance. Originally intended to provide efficiency in smart homes, touchless devices are now being used as hygienic measures to prevent cross-contamination.

Here are the current trends in touchless technology and the rapid changes in the way we interact with devices in the home:

Switches replaced by voice control and apps

With your smartphone, you get inside your home after turning off the alarm and unlocking the door. As you enter, a motion detector turns on the lights. In the bathroom, you wash your hands in the sink with sensor taps, which are no longer just in public restrooms. You make a request with your speaker to play some music as you go into your kitchen, where you tap on a screen to turn on the oven.

Apps on our smartphones have changed the way we interact with our home, as they replace buttons, switches and thermostats.

Our increasingly busy life has given us less time to spend on household tasks. Also, life has become easier for people thanks to innovations in the home appliance market.

Because of this, we are increasingly investing in autonomous appliances.

Appliances are becoming increasingly autonomous

We like to delegate work as much as we can. This is why robotic vacuum cleaners, for example, are rising in popularity. The only device that can totally take over a task are robots. The latest models get commands using a voice assistant. With this feature, the device can be used remotely and even at home. So, for example, you spilled a bottle of mineral water on the floor, just command the robot to clean up.

There are other features aside from remote activation. There is also the function that reduces the domestic workload. For example, there is a dishwasher in which the rinse aid and detergent are loaded into a big tank that automatically adjusts the amount for every wash.

Range hoods now don’t have buttons, even to turn it on and off. Even lights don’t need a switch to be turned on and off. While in some instances touchless technology is designed for practicality, others are aimed at simplifying design. The latest lamp models are built in with an infrared sensor to allow it to be turned on or dimmed with a simple hand movement.

Systems that are comforting and easy to use

Remote control systems are rising in popularity because of our desire for simplification and control. Having the ability to tell a voice assistant that you are going out so you can have the peace of mind knowing all the lights are off, the shutters are lowered, and some utilities are deactivated offers a benefit it terms of time efficiency and an assurance of safety.

Touchless technology also allows you to manage the temperature of your home in case your hands are busy preparing food, or maybe turning the lights on when you come home with bags full of shopping bags.

They also help in hygiene, which is important in settings such as holiday homes and short-term rental properties.

One thing about touchless technology is that it is intuitive. It just takes a little practice on how to come up with the correct command for a particular device.

What’s in store for touchless controls at home

Touchless technology will probably not capture the whole world. Different kinds of control are more likely to be inclusive instead of exclusive. This is the reason that many more touchless control systems will be invented, but they will always come with other options like conventional controls or apps.

The so-called Internet of Things, or the way devices communicate with each other, is poised for further growth with the addition of machine learning and AI features.

So, in the short term, not only will buttons to turn on appliances be eliminated, but the appliances themselves will know when and how to activate.

For example, when you leave your office at the end of the day, your smartphone uses geolocation to command your home heating system to start, so your home’s temperature will be just right when you enter. Comfort and the optimisation of energy use are in reality the genuine drivers of this technology.

Coming home after a hectic day is just a common instance that shows us how, without lifting a finger and even (almost) without thought, our relationship with home devices entails decreasing moments of interactions.

Can I still buy property during Covid-19 Lockdowns?

Yes you can, as there are no restrictions in place that will prevent you from either buying or selling a home during the current Covid-19 lockdowns, though the home buying process in Newcastle and how you can inspect the property has changed.

During lockdowns all open homes are closed and real estate agents are currently offering private inspections, FaceTime appointments and providing videos or virtual tours.

It’s important to remember when inspecting the property in person, that the agent must follow the strict Health Order Guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus and that only ONE buyer may attend a private inspection.  The buyer must wear a mask, use a hand sanitiser, maintain distance between the agent and must not touch anything in the home.

Buyers also must not attend if they are considered a close or casual contact, are awaiting a covid test result and should be self isolating.

If you are feeling unwell in anyway, please delay your inspection or have someone you trust to view the property on your behalf.

For those investment buyers from the Greater Sydney region who are prohibited to inspect in person in regional area or any buyer not wanting to inspect in person, you can do a remote inspection of the property by watching videos or by using other digital platforms like FaceTime or WhatsApp.

It’s also really important to plan in advance and be prepared to purchase by getting your permit to travel out of the Greater Sydney region and your pre-approval for finance before making appointments and offers.

NOTE:  For the latest updates about Covid-19 Rules click here!



Why Real Estate Won’t Return To Normal Once Lockdowns Lift

Many real estate agents and principals are working in lockdown right now, and even though we are still able to list and sell property (under constrained circumstances), we are finding that the majority of sellers are saying they prefer to wait for restrictions to end and consider listing their properties when real estate returns to normal.

The problem is, when restrictions end, real estate won’t return to normal. In fact, if we take into account what happened last year when Melbourne agents were in an extended lockdown period, it was just the opposite.

The main lesson I learnt from One Agency’s in Victoria last year was that as soon as restrictions lifted and sellers rushed to the market, it lead to high demand for associated service providers like stagers, photographers, pest & building inspectors and conveyancers, causing major waitlists and a huge slowing in the process.

So, the immediate post-lockdown environment will actually be far from normal.  That’s why it’s so important to take steps right now to set yourself up for a successful post-lockdown sale.


How to set yourself up for a post-lockdown sale of your property

Styling and staging experienced big bottlenecks in Victoria last year. There are only so many styling professionals and their staging furniture to go around, which means there’s likely to be a big queue for this service when lockdown lifts.

One way to get around this problem is to consider selling right now. This can be a great option, because while there are less properties on the market, buyer numbers are still very strong, which means you are facing less competition than usual and certainly far less than when everyone decides to come to the market post-lockdown.

If you still prefer to wait until lockdown ends, you should try to book styling and staging appointments right now. If appropriate, consider offering to pay a deposit. That way, you can get to the front of what’s likely to be a long queue.

The same logic applies with contracts for sale and pest and building inspections. Demand for conveyancers and inspectors will skyrocket once lockdown ends, but supply of these services remain unchanged. Now might be a good time to go to market, because if you wait until lockdown is over, it might become harder for you to sell your property.  It may take longer and everyone knows that the longer a property is on the market, there’s a higher chance you’ll have to drop your original asking price.

Of course, if you want to wait, that’s your choice. In that case, speak to your favourite conveyancer right now and ask them to draft a contract of sale in readiness so you can get to the front of the long post-lockdown queue.  Remember to book your stylist and contact your agent so they can book your photographer.

These are conversations you need to be having right now because your competition is already doing it!



No Super Spring Saturdays!

Spring is here but the Australian property market and it’s super selling Spring Saturdays are not!  And it’s all because of the Health Orders relating to Covid-19 set down by the Chief Health Minister.

The Australian property market is no longer a seasonal market.

Typically, spring is a season where we see an influx of property already on the market but that not the case this year! It’s now evident that we will not see the Super Saturdays that we would normally see happen towards late September.

But when the health orders are lifted, the restrictions on inspections are extinguished and sellers bring their properties to the market, the prediction is that there’ll be too much stock.  There’s going to be a gluttony of listings, you’re going to see signboards everywhere and that’s when it’s going to be a buyers’ paradise.

The forecast is that this will happen during the months of Summer (November-December-January).  This is based on the number of administered vaccines and the promise of easing of restrictions by the Chief Health Minister and the Premier.

Supported by the idea that Australia is making progress and with the prediction of a buyers’ paradise, I believe that when the restrictions are lifted, sellers will begin listing their properties and you’re going to have a lot of listings on the market.

Knowing that there was limited stock and supply in recent months, it’s evident that there’s a lot of sellers that haven’t come on to the market since the middle of the year.  So in actual fact, there’s likely going to be three seasons worth of listing on the market at the one time!  Winter, spring and summer listings!

This will be a great time for buyers but I’m concerned for seller because the absorption rate of property will likely head downwards meaning that buyers get to purchase at a cheaper price and sellers forgo premium sale prices.

For clarification, the absorption rate is defined as how many days would it take for all the stock on the market to get sucked in by the buyers!

So when there’s a lot of stock, the absorption rate actually becomes lower, because what actually happens is there’s just more stock to get absorbed.

Given that buyers numbers haven’t decreased much because of a lack of stock, I’m also not sure there’s going to be an increase of buyers to match the increase of supply.  I believe, buyers will have more to choose from, properties will be on the market longer (the absorption rate being lower) and we all know that the longer a property is on the market – the more likely the price will fall.

I’m personally holding off buying until the summer months for this very reason but the question I have for sellers is, will you sell now or later when restrictions are lifted and you’ll have a lot more competition?

Call me today for a confidential chat about your property.