How to buy property in lockdown

Urban's guide to buying property in a lockdown
How to buy property in lockdown
Jordan FidlerAugust 26, 2021

The ongoing and escalating pandemic lockdowns are wreaking havoc across many parts of the national economy, property in particular is facing a unique set of challenges.

Buyers face difficulties like income uncertainty, job insecurity and supply issues inflating prices in certain segments of the market, established houses in particular.

Sellers face a different set of struggles:

  • Should I list?
  • Where will I live after I've sold?
  • Are people looking to buy?
  • How will I market my property while minimizing COVID-19 risks?

In spite of these issues, it's still a great time to buy especially if you know where to look and what parts of the property market retain good growth prospects during the pandemic and beyond.

How are the 2021 lockdowns different from 2020?

Last year the government pumped up the market and potential buyers with stimulus and grants.

They tackled job instability with JobKeeper and pumped up first home buyer spending power with grants like the First Home Owner Grant. Government tackled the established market as well with Homebuilder, a grants aimed at keeping the construction and trades industries running.

Meanwhile the RBA propped up lending institutions with the historically low cash rate rate as well as Quantitative easing.

Last year banks were even offering mortgage deferral periods with a relaxing of certain home-loan restrictions and even accepting JobKeeper payments as income when considering loan applications. 

However this time there are $750 payments available instead, not accepted by banks who are also proving reluctant when it comes to mortgage deferrals. Some are even starting to hike certain interest rate packages and tighten lending restrictions.

What does this mean for Buyers and Sellers?

Primarily this means there is less competition, as the first home buyer market is further stifled and less people are eligible to borrow for an owner occupier or an investment property. A positive for buyers who still have the means.

However some of this is evened out by the lack of property on the market, as well as soaring property prices in some market segments and the market digests the recent 10%+ increase in property values.

One segment of the market that has been minimally affected is the off-the-plan and new apartment development market. As many parts of this market continue to digest the result of HomeBuyer and the previous property development grants, many developments are nearing or have reached completion.

So how do I buy in Lockdown?

1. Display suite tours - Off the plan marketing will be no strangers to creating display suite videos due to Australia's keen international investor pool, who regularly buy apartments from overseas. If you can't get to a display suite tour, ask the agent if they have produced a video

2. Get the agent to walk you through - If they haven't got a display suite tour, ask the agent to walk you through the property. Many agents are seeing huge success from interstate parties buying property sight unseen, having walked through the property a number of times over a video call

3. Ask the right questions - When will a display be open, has COVID put a stop to construction and changed the timeline

Where are my buying opportunities?

Property investment is a national game. There are different property markets all over the country. As long as a place has a decent population, tight rental vacancy rate and diverse economy, the prospects for long term capital growth are good. The key is to get a property for below market value and therefore make some money on the way in, as well as boosting your rental yield in the process.

The more affordable brackets of the property market are likely to offer up the best opportunities as there will be more income uncertainty for those who would like to buy owner-occupier properties there. Because of this, there should also be healthy demand from renters.

Under $500,000

Offering a collection of one, two and three-bedroom residences, Ryrie Home is set to deliver 109 apartments in the heart of Geelong’s arts precinct.

More than half have already sold and construction is now underway.

Residents at Blue Earth Group's latest apartment development, Ivanhoe Gardens benefit from more than just the suburb's inherent amenity.

The development, built across two stages by leading builder Hamilton Marino to designs by CHT Architects, has 13 different entertainment zones. There is over 2,000 sqm of dedicated amenity space.

Located in close proximity to Moorabbin train station and wonderful local community facilities, Omnia is the latest development by Shenfield Property.

Offering an exceptional selection of 40 residences in one, two and three-bedroom configurations, the development features park frontage, energy-efficient design and north-facing aspects.

$500,001 - $1,000,000

Located in the heart of Box Hill, Spring Street is the latest Melbourne development delivered by Orion International Group.

Set over 29 levels, the tower is set to include 312 one, two and three-bedroom apartments within a five-minute walk from Box Hill Central.

Rise is the final release of Caydon’s Mason Square precinct, located just 6km from the CBD and walking distance to the bustling Puckle Street.

The 29-level Fender Katsalidis-designed development is made up of two apartment types; Residences and Skyhomes. Located on Levels two to 21, Residence apartments are a mix of one, two and three bedrooms. 

Set on the Yarra River, Riverbank – The Park House is located near the Yarra Trail, Boat House and Tea Garden and Melbourne’s best open-access golf course, Yarra Bend, around the corner.

The nine-level building has been designed by SJB Architects and is finished with interiors by Sue Carr at Carr Design Group. It is one of two buildings in the Riverbank development.

Over $1,000,000

ID_Land are the team behind Port Lane, situated right in the heart of Port Melbourne.

Award-winning architects Rothelowman worked in lockstep with interior designers Hecker Guthrie and landscape consultants Tract to create a development that is authentic and distinctive, all while priced lower than Port Melbourne's median.

Piper Townhomes is the latest release in AVJenning's Waterline Place masterplan in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Williamstown. 

Located on Nelson Place, Piper is one of the earliest releases and is just one part of the 500+ residences planned, so keep an eye out for further releases

The Grounds is comprised of an exclusive collection of three apartment buildings, each architecturally designed to respond to their own address; Wilfred, Wamba and The Boulevard.

There is also the Oak Terraces, located off Cedric Street, offering a limited collection of townhomes.

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