Real estate agents see positives in changes to how we buy, sell and rent

Remember when: The real estate industry is likely to move away from the public auction model in line with new guidelines covering the COVID-19 virus. Photo: McGrath Port Macquarie
Remember when: The real estate industry is likely to move away from the public auction model in line with new guidelines covering the COVID-19 virus. Photo: McGrath Port Macquarie

How we buy, sell and rent real estate is changing - and even how we can inspect properties - following a decision by the federal government to ban public auctions and open houses.

The move follows increased concerns about the spread of COVID-19.

While the exact details of the decision are yet to be properly digested, a number of industry leaders on the NSW Mid-North Coast are already thinking outside the square.

Some agents are quickly moving to providing virtual tours of properties while others will be investigating expanding their virtual auction systems.

All remained confident the property market in coastal Port Macquarie would maintain its strength, with one agent even predicting some increased inquiries.

Elders Port Macquarie CEO David Gray says his businesses will start live streaming private auctions in their premises. That would see an increase in phone bidding or bidding through technology, he said.

He pointed to Port Macquarie's strength off the back of the Sydney market as a positive for the future.

Mr Gray said figures showed that six months ago the vacancy rate was sitting at 2.7 per cent and down to 1.5 per cent for their office.

"The market was not booming but was very solid," he said. "Port Macquarie is very unique in that we have a strong occupier market.

"I think this is also a time when more people will reassess their lives and will then choose to relocate out of Sydney. These seachangers will increase over the next six months. You could also see downsizing happening too out of Sydney."

I think this is also a time when more people will reassess their lives and will then choose to relocate out of Sydney. These seachangers will increase over the next six months. You could also see downsizing happening too out of Sydney.

David Gray

Mr Gray said his businesses provided more private inspections of properties than the open house format.

Elders also leased 11 properties last week and have more appointments booked for the following week.

He said the business would continue to invest time in keeping good relationships between property owners and tenants.

"While this has happened very quickly, the available rental subsidies should see everyone able to meet their rental obligations," he said.

However, he did suggest a complete lockdown of business may have ramifications for the industry.

Percival Property Management's Michael Percival said he was awaiting further clarification on the just-introduced bans and government support for renters.

"These are massive changes but the full information is yet to be released," he said.

Mr Percival said the impact on small business - including real estate agents - was inevitable.

"Business will have to shrink as this crisis continues," he said. "And it will impact employment.

"Our business is well-quipped to work remotely with electronic inspections and rent checking available.

"So there should be minimal impact on our services for what I believe will be for a relatively short timeframe of around six months."

It's been a bit surprising, because we have already completed some deals this week and have more bookings for private inspections for next week.

Todd Bates

McGrath Estate Agents Port Macquarie's Todd Bates was another agency moving into the virtual auction sphere.

He said the industry would move away from the traditional open house system toward providing virtual tours and online auctions.

The business was already offering 3D tours on its properties, he said.

"This system will help qualify buyers a lot more and also provide some protection for the owners too," he said.

This story Don't bank on a fall in the real estate market just yet first appeared on Port Macquarie News.