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How to Buy Property During COVID Lockdowns in Sydney

impact of COVID-19 on Sydney property market

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the Sydney housing market – though not quite in the way many of us expected. Yes, it has always been difficult and costly to purchase a home in Sydney. But now, with the latest restrictions in place, properties are even harder to find and more expensive to obtain. If you must buy property during a COVID-19 lockdown, you’ll need to adopt a different and more sophisticated approach to what other buyers have done before.

Buying property during the COVID lockdown

The lockdown’s restrictions on physical gatherings have severely altered how Sydney’s property market operates. Both buyers and vendors are forced to rethink how they can conduct their business without compromising people’s health and safety.

Because of that, there’s been a change in how people sell their properties. It’s also driven buyers to find and purchase properties differently. And everyone else involved in the industry – real estate agents, buyers’ agents, auctioneers, lawyers, building inspectors, professional renovators, creditors, banks, and so on – have had to adapt to the changes in buyer and seller behaviour.

The cumulative effect of all these has led to the following trends for Sydney’s property market:

Fewer properties available in the open market

In the past few years, the supply of available properties in Sydney has continuously been below buyers’ demand. The COVID-19 pandemic has only reduced that supply further.

Safety concerns have dampened many vendors’ enthusiasm. They are now more reluctant to having their property publicly listed or auctioned off. Doing so brings in too many people enquiring or asking to view the home. You can imagine how difficult that situation is to manage during lockdown. Many vendors are simply afraid of getting exposed to COVID, with hundreds of people walking through their home.

This means that there are many sellers just waiting for lockdown to end. In the meantime, these vendors would sell if only they could find a buyer without advertising publicly. But they are available off-market…

Residential property price growth

Thanks to low supply and growing demand, Sydney’s residential property values continue to rise despite the pandemic and recent lockdown. 

buy property during COVID in Sydney
Housing property values in Sydney are now more than double what they were in 2007-2009, in spite of the pandemic.

The pandemic has even helped bolster the demand for housing all over Australia, and not just in Sydney. Because Australians have mostly refrained from travelling and spending more on entertainment and other luxuries, they accumulated more savings. Some have used those savings to help them invest in real estate.

In response to property investors’ confidence in real estate, banks and lenders have begun lowering their borrowing or mortgage interest rates. Thus, investors are further empowered to run after an increasingly limited number of properties – which drives their value up even further. And most market experts agree it will get even more expensive as the year goes on.

Limited viewing time slots

Under the current lockdown rules in Sydney, home inspections are still allowed. But unlike open houses before the pandemic, only one person at a time is now allowed to view a property, with each one given only about 15 minutes to inspect the house.

In addition, vendors dislike the extra health risks that now come with property inspections. (Why should they risk exposure to the virus by having as many potential buyers coming over?)  

Consequently, this has created limited viewing time slots that are extremely difficult to reserve. 

How a Sydney buyers’ agent can help you

Tracey Chandler

These conditions are unlikely to change much in the next year or so. Any effort you may put in at finding a new home will likely fail without the aid of an experienced and well-connected agent in Sydney.

As a Sydney-based buyers’ agent, I am here to help. If you’re searching for a new house or buying an apartment during the COVID lockdown, here are the advantages that an agent like myself can provide. 

1. You’ll find off-market properties ahead of your competition.

Thanks to the pandemic, many of the properties on sale are kept off-market or unlisted. And that means you must find ways to discover off-market properties ahead of the other investors. 

That’s nearly impossible to achieve on your own. You will need the help of a buyers’ agent in town who has all the right connections within Sydney’s residential property market. Only the most experienced buyers’ agent has all the off-market contacts you’ll need within specific suburbs of the city. 

And that’s exactly the kind of network I have and can tap into for you.

2. You can focus only on the best properties.

Moreover, a good Sydney buyers’ agent should know the market well enough to zero in on a property that best suits your brief, at the best price possible. Thus, you won’t risk exposure or waste time looking at anything else.

I examine thousands of Sydney residential properties each month. It would be difficult for any buyer to gain the same amount of familiarity with the market that I have. So I make sure to share my overview with my clients and give them realistic advice.

You may be inclined to disregard that advice, but be prepared to accept any loss of opportunity. Bear in mind that the COVID-19 pandemic has made the competition between buyers fiercer than ever.

Recently, I told a couple of my clients that the first property they were viewing was indeed the best of what was currently available. I advised them to purchase it before someone else did. But they insisted on going through other homes on the list. A handful of property viewings later, they realised (with great regret) that I was right. But it was too late. That first property was quickly sold to another buyer as soon as the couple passed up on the opportunity to buy.

3. You get more personalised service options.

Here is another huge advantage of having a buyers’ agent like me working for you during the lockdown. You don’t have to inspect a property in person. In case the available viewing time doesn’t fit your schedule, I will inspect the place for you.

One client of mine, for instance, was a doctor in need of a new home who was too busy to attend the only available viewing time for a property. So I did the inspection instead. I will do the same for you because I know how hard it is to fit property viewings into your schedule and finally get the home that you deserve.

Now, you may think viewing a house or apartment remotely is no substitute for actually being there. But trust me. I will be communicating with you in real-time via a phone video call. I’ll show you the various parts of the prospective home so you can get a good idea of what the property is like. If you have any questions you’d like to ask the real estate agent, I can speak on your behalf.

And since I always handle my clients personally (I don’t delegate my services to an assistant), I know your brief personally. I remember what you want and need in a new home.

I also have extensive experience in assessing residential properties. So I can help identify any problems I might see or give you advice about the house you’re viewing. 

Doing research in preparation for home buying
With a proper buyers’ agent’s help, you can examine a property from the comfort of your phone or laptop.

Stay safe, stay wise

We may all be unsure of how this pandemic will progress and end. For now, it will continue to have an impact on Australia’s property market.

But with the help of the right agent, you can stay confident about your ability to buy the best property in Sydney during the COVID lockdown. Contact me and let’s work together to get your next home.