19 October 2020

It feels like we have reached a juxtaposition where nothing is changing yet things are changing (finally). History may show that this period we’ve experienced in the property market will never happen again. Is this best for buyers or sellers? Time will tell.

Auctions can now take place outside with a maximum number of 10 persons, plus the agents and vendors involved in the sale. When the limit of 10 is filled, agencies are then using online portals to accommodate additional bidders. Will this radically change the way property is transacting at the moment?

While many agents are commenting on how much they are enjoying one-on-one inspections, others are mentally exhausted as they stand on one property for sometimes three or four hours or more as they allow individual 15-minute inspections to take place, one after another. As a buyer, you need to be super-organised, and for many properties 15 minutes just isn’t long enough to view the home, so buyers are needing to come back multiple times, or, in some cases, they are just finding it all too hard and moving on.

For some buyers, they are discovering that there are vendors happy to negotiate and sell before all the interested buyers have even inspected the home. As a buyer, it could be heartbreaking to find out the property you had been waiting for is going to sell before you’ve even had a chance to inspect it. Who would buy a home unseen? Well, some people have…

Agents are saying there are a number of new buyers to the market since this most recent lockdown. Some are ‘hot’ to buy; however, there are also a number of agents who have commented that some buyers are taking advantage of home inspections to get out of the house. Others are future vendors checking out, for their own interest, what similar properties are worth.

As a buyer, it is important to be front-of-mind with the agents; however, to do this you are likely to need to disclose a lot more information about yourself, your budget, your potential to sell (if you buy) etc. than you would have done pre-Covid. You may even need to provide finance approval documentation. This may not necessarily be in your best interest as a buyer, particularly if you are the only party interested in a property, but withholding information may result in missing out on some homes for sale, particularly ones for sale quietly.

Asking prices are also harder to judge. Many quiet properties are asking for ‘high’ prices, well above what makes sense. Others, however, are very reasonable. As a buyer, knowing the market you are buying in is even more important, as the ‘social proof’ provided by ‘open for inspections’ and ‘public auctions’ of the past is not currently available.

Where to from here? With restrictions easing, we will see more properties come on the market publicly and, due to limited time running in to Christmas, we will see auctions take place on days (possibly mid-week evenings) other than Saturday, which is the traditional auction day in Melbourne.

Large numbers of off market homes are also likely to remain until the end of the year. It’s easy to get caught up in the romance of an ‘off market’ but many of these homes can be overpriced or have other concerns. Due diligence is important when considering off market properties.

Finally, with interest rates remaining low and finance possibly becoming easier to obtain in the new year, combined with no real pressures (yet) for vendors to sell, a shortage of quality stock will likely remain the issue for buyers.

 

Properties we like currently on the market; an architect’s view 

28 Claremont Avenue Malvern – Simon Curtain/Hamish Palmer-Hill, Abercromby’s

54-56 Bamfield Street Sandringham – Greg Downes/Campbell Cooney, Hodges

 

Some of the better ‘Off-market’ Properties we have been privy to:

  • Contemporary family home, adjoining park, Brighton East – circa $3.3m
  • Large modern family home with basement, Brighton East – circa $5.2m
  • Edwardian home on large land, Hampton – circa $2.7m
  • Townhouse, 3 homes from the beach, Black Rock – circa $2.25m
  • Single level weatherboard home, Beaumaris – circa $1.45m
  • Large family home on good land near beach, Black Rock – circa $3.3m
  • Renovated Victorian, 2 storey, 5 bed, 2 bath, 2 OSP, Armadale – circa $3.45m
  • Fully renovated Victorian, 4 bed, Malvern – circa $6m
  • Newly renovated Edwardian, Malvern – circa $3m
  • 1960s style home or over 700sqm land, Malvern – circa $2.6m
  • Renovated brick Edwardian, north rear, Malvern – circa $4.5m
  • 1990s two storey family home, 5 beds, pool, Malvern – circa $6m
  • Californian Bungalow family home, fully renovated, Malvern East – circa $3.75m
  • Semi attached art deco looking for renovation, Kooyong – circa $1.75m
  • Edwardian brick family home, Malvern East – circa $2.8m
  • Modern family home on good land, Camberwell – circa high $3m
  • Adjoining homes for individual sale or development w. plans, Camberwell – circa $5m
  • Edwardian family home with tennis court and pool, Canterbury – circa $6m
  • Edwardian family home on large block, needing update, Camberwell – circa $7.5m
  • Californian Bungalow family home, Glen Iris – circa $2.5m
  • Californian Bungalow, renovated, 3 bed, 2 bath, 1 garage, Hawthorn east – circa $2.7m
  • Weatherboard single fronter, needing reno, South Yarra – circa $1.45m
  • Edwardian brick single fronter, fully renovated, Prahran – circa $1.35m
  • Spanish style, river facing, looking for update, South Yarra – circa $4.5m
  • Contemporary renovated home, 3 bed, 2 bath, 2 garage, Prahran – circa $2.3m
  • Refurbished Californian Bungalow with studio, Prahran – circa $1.9m
  • Victorian timber single fronter, 4 bed, 2 bath, 2 OSP, Windsor – circa $2.2m
  • Townhouse, 2 bed, 2 bath, 1 garage, Elwood – circa $1.3m
  • Fully renovated period home, 4 bed, 2 bath, 2 car, St Kilda East – circa early $2m