Voice of Regional Australia: Rising property sales, the surprising trend of the pandemic

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If only we knew what the future holds? Picture: Shutterstock

If only we knew what the future holds? Picture: Shutterstock

If only we could predict the future ... not just for the winning lotto numbers, but as a means to help navigate life generally. Or, maybe, to at least predict when the property market is supposedly going to crash?!

At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic there were a lot of predictions flying around about all kinds of things.

In property, experts predicted a worse-case scenario of a 20-30 per cent drop in the market due to the impact of the pandemic.

So far that hasn't happened. Although for many of the capital cities there has been a dip, but as you move out of the city, regional property values continue to climb.

Possibly it's the result of a mass exodus of city dwellers looking to 'get outta Dodge', leaving behind virus clusters and tiny apartment living to find comfort in the regions as the pandemic forces more people to work from home.

With interest rates so low, there's a definite feeling that people are biting at the bit to get in and buy property, simultaneously pushing up prices.

Real estate agents are saying they've never been so busy, with basic properties being snapped up for inflated prices as soon as they hit the market in some areas. It's a bit like the latest "panic-buying product" is now real estate.

Estate agents reckon the scenario is simple: low stock and high demand. Money also is relatively cheap to borrow right now and those fortunate enough to be gainfully employed want to purchase.

But there's just not a great deal to choose from, so when something half-decent comes on the market the bidding war starts.

In the past couple of months I've seen open home inspections with a queue of potential purchasers stretching along the street - with very casual socially-distancing in play.

For someone eager to get into the market, the scenes would certainly stir those "panic-buying instincts".

It's a strange reality at the moment on many fronts, if you watch the news, understandably you probably wouldn't want to sell your house. But a quick check of the recently sold section on any real estate listings app and you'll see the market seems to be 'hot' in many areas.

As silver linings go, there was some hope the pandemic might bring a correction to the rising property market and provide a leg-up to those wanting to get on the real estate ladder.

But the data shows many areas are still seeing an increase in property values. One industry report says "price falls to date have been minimal; significant government stimulus, mortgage holidays and low interest rates have helped to support home values".

Government intervention has helped struggling homeowners through these economically challenging times to kept distressed and urgent selling low. But as the report goes on to say, "the risk to prices becomes greater once the stimulus measures cease and we face the fiscal cliff".

"While lenders have extended the mortgage pause for those under serious financial strain and the JobKeeper subsidy will be extended and tapered until the end of March next year, the outlook for prices largely depends upon how well the economy is tracking at the time stimulus ends".

So do you, don't you? Buy or sell, stay or go? Where's that crystal ball.

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