Cautiously Optimistic

We've now seen the first relaxation of social distancing measures

After weeks spent waiting for the hammer to fall with the next round of restrictions, we’ve now seen the first relaxation of social distancing measures and the start of what will hopefully be a move back towards what will be the new normal for the foreseeable future.

While property has remained an Essential Service throughout this time and private inspections have still been permitted, the feet on the ground has suggested that many have been hesitant to make a move in the current climate, between worry over job security and whether or not they are physically allowed to go for the drive to view a home.

Though not everyone will be running to their local park for their first picnic, relaxation on non-essential shopping and travel within 50km of home should give back some measure of confidence to buyers that Yes, they can still look at homes. Combined with JobKeeper rolling out in practice, this should see more buyers return to the market, though this is still likely to be subdued compared to a more traditional final quarter.

As a seller (or potential seller), what does this change mean for you? Well, in many segments of the market, there are still opportunities to sell. Outside of those in casual employment or industries more heavily affected, first home buyers should still be active, with the rent vs buy equation leaning heavily towards the latter when it comes to affordability. As interest rates have continued to fall, the number of properties which can be purchased and paid off (principal and interest) for less than what you would pay in rent for an equivalent home has grown, putting more choice on the table. Amassing a deposit is still the major hurdle in this segment, but with first home buyer incentives still in place for new homes or those building and more support mooted, it’s a hurdle that can be managed.

As the share market continues a volatile run, and Cairns maintains strong rental yields in the national context (though there may be movement here in the coming months), investors with access to cash should also become more active, preferring the relative safety of bricks and mortar and a long term tenant.

With open homes still off the cards, owners will need to be more flexible with their presentation and access to properties, with multiple private inspections throughout the week likely to become an expectation. A bit more vacuuming and stashing toys under the bed, but a worthwhile chore in exchange for market activity.