The future of the Australian property market post COVID-19 according to ICD Property's Sal Quah

The future of the Australian property market post COVID-19 according to ICD Property's Sal Quah
The future of the Australian property market post COVID-19 according to ICD Property's Sal Quah

The adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Australian industries has been a widely circulated narrative for the past two months with many speculating a ‘new normal’ is on the horizon. As we navigate through these uncertain times, the property industry, in particular, has demonstrated its ability to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and consumer behaviour.

It is a responsibility that falls on us, as property developers, to aid the industry in any way we can and despite an overall unfavourable impact, COVID-19 has perhaps been the catalyst to expedite changes that were forthcoming.

Adapting to new buyer behaviour

New regulations in regards to social distancing have resulted in developers swiftly shifting their regular customer service and sales offering to private appointment only. As a result, this has led to fewer enquiries but the enquiries that have come in are much more qualified and serious.

This is due to the fact that by the time these individuals have stepped into our sales centres or display suites to meet with an agent, they have most likely already visited our website, read the brochure, and looked up the project in the news. By doing this, they have essentially pre-qualified themselves so by the time they reach their private appointment, they have a clear understanding of the project and a list of specific questions to ask.
 
With a large proportion of the population in self-isolation, the industry has also witnessed a spike in online visitation to resources such as urban.com.au, with project websites and social media channels also growing in popularity.

We’ve also seen a greater demand for project brochures, floor plans and price lists to be made available online for purchasers to browse from the convenience and comfort of their homes. Similarly, many projects are looking to have showroom videos and 3D virtual tours of apartments created to upload online. This level of convenience has even stemmed to e-contracts, as individuals refrain from in-person interactions.

Shaping the future of the property market  

This technology has been available for a number of years but the uptake wasn’t there. The way agents and businesses have operated has been largely dictated by the way consumers behave and now that this behaviour has pivoted, a new way of operating is being explored. Prior to social distancing and new regulations, we continued to do what we had always done because it seemed to work but now we’re exploring how to be more efficient. The changes we’re currently witnessing would have come eventually but COVID-19 has inadvertently caused us to adopt them sooner; it has made us reflect on whether the way we do business is the smartest way. This isn’t exclusive to the property industry, with many industries forced to reconsider their ways of working. 

Take for example telemedicine - Australia has been slow to adopt this practice but amidst a pandemic, everything went digital. Why would we ever go back to in-person consultants for a script refill when it can be done online?

Only time will tell whether these changes will be short-lived or if as a collective, we will put a greater emphasis on technology and efficiency. But for the time being, the most important thing we can do is to support Australians and local businesses. Within our own business, we are working hand in hand to navigate this tough market with our partners and consultants. 

By remaining involved in advocacy groups such as the Property Council of Australia and the UDIA, we can safely keep construction sites open to stimulate the economy and keep Australians in jobs, while ensuring developments are progressing healthily through planning and construction. It is times like these you need to remain agile when the going gets tough - it will only make us stronger on the other side.

Sal Quah

Sal Quah

Sal is ICD Property’s Deputy Managing Director. He is responsible for assisting with the acquisition and delivery of all major projects. Sal hopes superior development and architecture will ensure Melbourne retains its title of “world’s most liveable city” for the years to come.

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COVID-19 Australia Property market off-the-plan

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