If you’re completely confused about the current property market, you’re not alone.
LifeStyle's property expert Andrew Winter says there’s good reason to be confused.
Even he can't make sense of what's happening and with years of real estate experience, 13 seasons of Selling Houses Australia and three seasons of Love It Or List It Australia under his belt (with a new season under-way!), he’s seen it all - well almost!
“My take on the current property market is that it is totally 100 percent the most unpredictable market I have ever seen,” he tells LifeStyle.
“It’s basically too unpredictable to predict.”
Since March when the coronavirus pandemic first sent states around Australia into lockdown and forced quarantine, there was no doubt the property market would suffer.
But what's actually happened, no one could have guessed, not even Winty.
“We are well over six months into feeling the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the property market has already evolved and changed that many times, you can’t deny it – it’s completely unpredictable,” Andrew says.
“To be quite honest, I thought initially when we started going into lockdown nationally, that really the most sensible thing and what would naturally happen is that the market would just hibernate – but that didn’t happen.”
While Andrew’s first thought was that people would sit on selling or buying property for a few months, quite the opposite has happened.
He says he’s seen all sorts of real estate ‘craziness’ during the pandemic, from people buying property they’ve never seen to record-breaking sales.
“I thought agents would just say let’s give it a month and we can get back to normal. That's what I thought would happen and it just didn’t happen,” he says.
“I mean it probably happened for a week and then everyone just seemed to want to get back onto it.”
Andrew says that this current unpredictable property market is looking good for one particular group of buyers – first homeowners.
“First home owners are a little different to everyone else,” he explains. “Arguably, they are in a terrific position to be buying now if they can.”
“If they are in jobs that are giving them assuredly long-term employment, they are suddenly finding themselves with the job security a lot of other buyers haven’t got.
“So generally, they’ve got less people to compete with – including international buyers or investors – and in addition, aren’t paying as much as they would have with grants and low interest rates playing in their favour.”
Despite the odds working in their favour, Andrew says there will be some first home buyers who aren’t in such a great position purely due to the industry they work in.
“For some it’s great. But sadly for others who had just about got some savings together and were thinking they could buy, their whole world has just come crashing down purely because of the industry they work in,” he says.
“It's just very hard to predict because there are so many people in different situations. If you have employment security in certain industries then you are fine, but others not so much.”
So, what’s Andrew’s advice for those who aren’t first home buyers and don’t really need to sell? If you don’t have to buy or sell right now, don’t.
“I can sum it up very, very simply,” he explains. “If I was a buyer or a seller right now, I wouldn’t be.
“That's my personal take on it. I find it really amazing that everybody is out there doing it, because to me there's still an awful lot of uncertainty.
“I've got property and I can tell you I've bought nothing and I've sold nothing.”
The only people that should be considering a sale right now are those who don’t need to funds to purchase another property and simply want to clear some of their assets.
And while he’s not saying there will be any kind of major change to the market for years to come – for now, property owners should still consider playing it safe.
“I'm not saying there will be any kind of ridiculous crash because I actually don’t believe there will be,” he says.
“But there is certainly no sign that in the next year or two there's going to be a massive boom either.”
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