As you read this column, we’re at the last gasp of open homes for 2020, with this being the final weekend of inspections before the Christmas break. From the usual slow ramp up of January, to the outright banning of open homes in March and April, COVID-safe re-opening and finally the absolutely mad rush of November and December, this has been a year like few others when it comes to selling (and buying) real estate.
Pre-Jobkeeper things were looking pretty dire, with buyers and sellers fleeing the market and agents questioning how to physically do business. Thankfully though, Australia, and QLD in particular have performed far better than anticipated and we are now in a much more positive space, buoyed by unheralded government stimulus, record low interest rates, and job numbers increasing each week as a number of industries not only return to pre-covid levels of activity but far surpass them.
As people have spent more time at home this year, priorities have changed, and coupled with an increase in buying power (and dare I say it, less spent on trips to Bali or Europe), demand for property has gone up, resulting in our housing market seeing the strongest conditions since pre-GFC. Supply on the other hand, has failed to keep up as sellers have continued to hold tight, through a combination of less mobility out of Cairns to the southern states (and who could blame them for staying?) and a lack of stock to move into (if I sell now, where do I go?).
Absent that wonderful crystal ball, its hard to pick where we are going to find ourselves in the next 12 months, though with borders now open across the country, most agents are anticipating a snowball effect of southerners flexing their wings out of lockdown. Where traditionally we would see a lull between now and post-wet season, I suspect timing will be turned on its head and we will see the market start moving a lot sooner in 2021, particularly as the end of Jobkeeper and various stimulus programs loom end of March.
For those looking to take advantage of the current mood, a “list now, launch later” approach is becoming more viable, as owners select their agent and start getting ready now, with the aim to have their home up and running as soon as possible in the New Year. With a year of more changes ahead, there is definitely advantage in being at the head of the queue.