Coronavirus: Can I still sell my house? FAQs on how COVID-19 affects the housing market

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted upon almost every industry including real estate.

State and federal governments have introduced necessary restrictions to stop the spread of the virus. But the property market continues to operate, with the safety and health of all persons involved the paramount concern.

Below, realestate.com.au answer your Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on what the coronavirus crisis means for sellers, buyers, renters and landlords.

Can I still sell my home?

Yes. Sellers’ agents, buyers agents and the rest of the market have adapted to the new restrictions. Virtual tours of homes, private inspections and online auctions are now the norm. Sellers can still sell via private sale too, as always.

What does the ban on ‘on-site’ auctions or ‘in-room auctions’ mean?

Auctions will continue to be held online. Prospective buyers can continue to register and bid online. Only ‘in-person’ auctions have been suspended due to social distancing rules.

Can I still inspect a home I am interested in?

Yes. Realestate.com.au has launched a new virtual inspection tool which will allow buyers and sellers to remain in business. Buyers can inspect a home virtually and then if they wish to visit a property in person, they can arrange a private visit through the selling agent.

How do virtual or digital inspections work?

Digital inspections allow real estate agents to use videos – either shot professionally or via smart phone walk-throughs – which would be available to renters and buyers via ‘Inspections’ sections of Buy and Rent listings on realestate.com.au.

Will showing my house increase my family’s chances of contracting coronavirus?

The government says as long as all recommended measures, such as social distancing and hygiene, are observed it is safe to proceed with private open home inspections. See more of the original realestate.com.au article here.

Home values set to weather coronavirus pandemic

Housing prices stayed in positive territory despite coronavirus hitting large swathes of the economy in March.

The CoreLogic Hedonic Index saw housing values climb in the first half of March but as social distancing measures kicked in through the final two weeks, that growth began to weaken.

This as the Commonwealth Bank, one of the nation’s Big Four, expected home values to weather the crisis better than most other indicators.

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“Bank policies to allow mortgage holders to defer mortgage payments during the crisis is expected to reduce the number of distressed sales on the market, this will help buffer falls in property prices,” the Commonwealth Bank report said. “Lower sales volumes and buying volumes could see the property market effectively enter hibernation with limited impact on property prices.”

CoreLogic found the national median dwelling value rose 0.7 per cent in March to $554,229, with Brisbane rising 0.6 per cent to $506,553. Sydney was up 1.1 per cent in the month to $882,849, while Melbourne hung in there with a 0.4 per cent to $695,299

CoreLogic research head Tim Lawless said Australia’s housing markets had entered “a period of disruption” but did so off “a strong foundation”.

“The housing market won’t be immune to a drop in sentiment and weaker economy, however the extent of the impact on dwelling values remains highly uncertain,” Mr Lawless said. “Capital growth trends will be contingent on how long it takes to contain the virus, and whether additional constraints on business or personal activity are introduced.”

He agreed that home values could weather the downturn better than other indicators because the number of home sales was expected to drop, and due to lending measures and government stimulus helping homeowners.

“Considering the temporary nature of this crisis, along with unprecedented levels of government stimulus, leniency from lenders for distressed borrowers and record low interest rates, housing values are likely to more be insulated than sales activity,” he said.

“The extent of any fall in housing values is impossible to fathom without first understanding the length of time this health and economic crisis persists. Arguably, the longer it takes to contain the virus and bring economic operations back to normal, the higher the downside risk to housing values.”

Commonwealth Bank expected to review its property price forecasts “in due course”.

“We believe that mortgage rates, consumer sentiment, new lending and auction clearance rates are the best indicators of the direction of dwelling prices. But with volumes now so thin previous relationships may not hold, particularly the relationship between new lending and prices. Based on the current movement of all but mortgage rates there does suggest there is downside risk to dwelling prices forthcoming.” Source: realestate.com.au

7 things every renter wants to see at an open house

There are so many gross, creepy and wrong things that can go down at open inspections for rentals.

Just because we’re renting, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve a home with modern inclusions, right? If you’re looking for a new rental, it pays to not only be organised with the application process – but also know what you’re not willing to compromise on.

We’ve seen some big blunders at open homes for rent. To avoid committing the same crimes, here are seven tips for what potential renters actually want to see.

1. A shower head that’s not from the 1950s

Why landlords insist on installing ancient shower heads in bathrooms is beyond me.

Renters do appreciate one that sprays more than a few measly squirts of water a minute.

They aren’t even that pricey to purchase and fit, so get it together on the shower front, Brenda. I’ll take mine in a matte-black finish, thanks.

2. Carpet that’s not from a horror film

Crunchy carpet is not an interior trend, nor is the notion that because a home will be tenanted, you don’t have to care about comfort or quality.

Give potential tenants some respect by installing fresh carpet, and they’ll give you respect back by looking after it.

Nobody wants to see stained carpet at an open house. This isn’t CSI.

3. A built-in wardrobe with mirrored doors

Storage is just as important to renters as it is home owners. Actually, because renters can’t install shelves on walls I’d argue that storage is even more vital.

Renters will never leave if you go for beautiful mirrored built-ins.

With that in mind, give them built-in wardrobes in bedrooms, and make sure they’re mirrored while you’re at it.

Just because you’re renting doesn’t mean you don’t like to look at yourself. Am I right?

4. A dishwasher – any sort of dishwasher!

I don’t care if his name’s Dishpig Dan and he comes with the apartment – if he’ll wash my dishes, he’s in like Flynn.

In all seriousness, though, renters want all the mod cons that home owners do, and a dishwasher is a convenience most need and expect.

The brand really isn’t important, just make sure it works.

5. Any lighting that’s not oyster

Another thing landlords love to do is install horrible 7-Eleven lighting in rental homes.

Oyster lights are the main offenders here and the inventor of them has some serious explaining to do.

There’s so much more to lighting than oyster lights. Consider pendants, LED and zoned lighting schemes.

Ban all cold lights in a rental property and opt for something warm and inviting. If you build it, quality tenants will come.

6. Window treatments that aren’t verticals

Hands up who’s been to an open house and seen verticals with a few blinds missing and those creepy cords ripped to shreds like Cujo’s run wild? Yep, me too!

Soft curtains are so much more serene than the eyesore that is vertical blinds.

Verticals are the devil’s work and must be stopped at once.

No tenant deserves this sort of window ‘fashion’ thrust upon them.

7. Mould-free walls (it’s not that hard)

If you see a few spots in the corners of rooms at an open house, run for the hills. If those spots look a little green in places, leave the tri-state area and never return.

Seriously, moving into a rental home with mould issues is a horrendous event you do not want to attend.

Don’t underestimate the impact of bright, mould-free walls.

Landlords, please sort out damp issues, repaint with mould-resistant paint, and make sure the property is well ventilated.

Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/


 

Cheapest mortgages in history for Aussie homeowners

Mortgages and borrowing will be the cheapest in Australian history with the Reserve Bank to take the unprecedented step of cutting interest rates twice in a month to a rock bottom 0.25 per cent.

The RBA was expected to act on Thursday to slash the official cash rate to 0.25 per cent, just two weeks after cutting to 0.5 per cent. The measure was expected to be coincide with bond buying an unprecedented move as officials work to shore up the Australian economy in widespread coronavirus fallout.

RBA Governor Philip Lowe is set to give a speech out of the Reserve Bank in Sydney at 4pm on Thursday.

CBA senior economist Gareth Aird expected RBA to cut the cash to “the effective-lower-bound of 0.25 per cent on Thursday” and put in place bond-buying and other measures to make borrowing cheaper.

According to RateCity.com.au analysis the average mortgage holder with a $400,000 loan could save as much as $55 a month off minimum monthly mortgage repayments if there was a cut to 0.25 per cent cut passed on by lenders.

RateCity.com.au research director Sally Tindall said many Aussies were ahead on their mortgages because banks kept their repayments the same when interest rates were cut.

“This is money some people can potentially access through their redraw, should they find themselves in a tight financial position,” she said. “If interest rates are cut again, some mortgage holders may want to rethink what they do with the savings.”

Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/

Brisbane and Gold Coast among world’s best luxury cities

Four Australian cities including Brisbane and the Gold Coast have been named among the top 60 luxury residential markets in the world.

Brisbane emerged in 57th spot, the Gold Coast was two spots higher (55th), while Melbourne came in at 44 and Sydney was Australia’s best performer slipping into 27th place.

This was off the Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100) in the Knight Frank Wealth Report 2020, released midweek.

Knight Frank prestige residential sales director, Jason March, said Brisbane was now into its 26th quarter of uninterrupted annual capital growth.

“Over this time, Brisbane prime residential values have grown by 37.7 per cent, while mainstream property values only saw total growth of 13.4 per cent, with the latter impacted more severely with the tightened lending measures implemented by APRA over this time.”

“The Brisbane prime residential market has been boosted by interstate buyers, particularly from Sydney and Melbourne, looking to secure a prestige home with money still left in the bank to decorate and travel, paying significantly less than they currently would in the southern east coast cities. “

He said greater affordability helped local buyers too “with many downsizing from the large family home further from the city into a well-appointed luxury apartment closer – or in – the CBD”.

Monaco was still the world’s most expensive city, with $1m buying just 16.4sq m of accommodation – the equivalent of a bedroom. This is followed by Hong Kong and London.

The index tracked luxury residential prices in 100 cities and second home markets across the globe between December 2018 and December 2019.

Tight supply of luxury homes drove growth above the global average of 1.8 per cent in Sydney, according to Knight Frank residential research head Michelle Ciesielski.

The Gold Coast grew 1.8 per cent, while Brisbane was up 1.4 per cent, Sydney 3.7 per cent, and Melbourne 2.2 per cent over the year.

“Despite record low interest rates and wealth growth continuing in most advanced economies, there were some factors preventing global price growth from reaching previous highs, including the slowing global economy, rising property taxes and in some cases, a surplus of luxury homes on the market,” Ms Ciesielski said.

She said 78 of the 100 locations in PIRI registered flat or positive growth in 2019.

The best performing luxury market in the world last year was Frankfurt (10.3 per cent) followed by Lisbon (9.6 per cent). South Korea’s Seoul was strong too (8.9 per cent).

“Gone are the days of 30% annual growth in China’s metropolises; Seoul and Taipei are now the region’s frontrunners with annual growth of almost 9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively,” a Knight Frank statement said.

Among Brisbane homes on the market is a massive seven bedder at 88 Kadumba Street, Yeronga, which sits on a 0.42ha block. The home is priced at offers over $4.5m, according to a listing by agent Ann-Karyn Fraser of Place New Farm.

Up the range, priced at serious offers over $10m, Ray White New Farm agent Matt Lancashire has 33B Harbour Road, Hamilton. The eight bedroom, nine bathroom four car space home sits on some of the most stunning real estate in Brisbane, waterfront at Hamilton on a 1,609sq m site.

On the Gold Coast, luxury properties currently on the market include 101 Commodore Drive, Paradise Waters, a five bed stunner that comes with its own overwater helipad. The home is priced at $12.75m, according to a listing by Ray White Prestige Gold Coast Agent Robert Graham.

And on the market in the past week was 17 Hedges Ave, Mermaid Beach, a six bedroom, eight bathroom beachfront home priced at $12.5m according to agents Antonio Contreras and Joe Farr of Platinum Properties Oxenford.

Source: https://www.realestate.com.au/