Navigating an uncertain market - Report from the Gold Coast

Navigating an uncertain market  - Report from the Gold Coast
Melvie May 27, 2020

There has been an easing of restrictions on open homes and auctions across Australia, with agents noting an increase in buyer activity. On the Gold Coast, agents have reported a healthy increase in the number of buyers at open homes, and interstate buyers are becoming more comfortable with Video/FaceTime inspections.

Since the beginning of the COVID19 crisis, regional areas such as the Gold Coast have not suffered the significant falls in prices seen in capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne. Regional Queensland did not see the exponential growth experienced in the southern capitals over the last few years, and that has meant that housing values have remained steady throughout the crisis in regional centres such as the Gold Coast.

The same cannot be said for rental growth. Rent has dropped 0.2% on a month on month basis in regional Queensland according to the Head of Research Tim Lawless from CoreLogic.

Lawless predicts that a combination of improved consumer sentiment associated with the lifting of restrictions imposed during the COVID-19 virus pandemic, and record low interest rates  - expected to be on hold until 2023 - will result in a rush of properties coming onto the market in the Spring/Summer season. Natural churn will resume driven by buyers needing or wanting to relocate.

There is considerable pent up demand as there has been a substantial drop in listings available to buyers. However Lawless does not expect buyer numbers to increase to the same extent as listing volumes in the coming months.

Real estate agents who have been active over the last 6 weeks have noted that buyers currently in the market are qualified and committed to purchasing. As buyers have been required to book private inspections, casual inspections by neighbours who are ‘just looking’ have fallen away.

In terms of demand drivers, the move to ‘Working From Home’ as a preferred option for employees is likely to sweep through most workplaces nationwide with far-reaching impacts on the commercial and retail property sectors. Lifestyle destinations with relatively low house prices such as the Gold Coast are set to reap the benefits of these workplace policy changes.

The Gold Coast is uniquely placed to cater for the influx of sea-changers working from home as it has an international airport (with upgrades well progressed), easy rail and road access to Brisbane for commuters, and infrastructure improvements under way to cope with an increasing resident population. Gold Coast City Council widened roads and bridges in preparation for the Commonwealth Games and since then has continued its decongestion program.

Locals, investors, and holiday homeowners already know that the Gold Coast represents great value for money when it comes to property investment. A fabulous waterfront home close to the beach can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of a Sydney property.

With improved market conditions driving demand, it is worth considering speaking to your preferred agent about an appraisal with a view to selling in the near future rather than waiting for the busy Spring/Summer selling season.

Take advantage of the pool of committed buyers available right now rather than selling into a crowded market when other economic conditions may begin to deteriorate. Both Westpac and ANZ have reported improved consumer sentiment and buyers are taking the opportunity to get out and about with the gradual lifting of restrictions on movement.

With listing volumes at a record low point, buyer enquiry improving and interest rates on hold, now is the time to get your property on to the market if you are located in a sea-change or tree-change accessible regional centre such as the Gold Coast.

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