As the property market continues to perform with steady strength in the wake of lockdown, consider this hypothetical: if not for the emergence of the Delta variant and the second wave, how differently would the market have performed through 2021?
It’s impossible to know but based on the current drivers, the main impact seems to be a reduced number of transactions, based purely on reduced volumes in lockdown.
Intense demand, constrained supply, the willingness of buyers to act, increasing prices – all these factors were gathering momentum when the outbreak took hold.
And they have been maintained. Vendors have every reason to be confident and some may regret the decision not to list their properties now.
While it’s tempting to ponder what would’ve happened if not for Delta, more important is gauging what could happen when Government winds back restrictions and opens the economy back up. It’s a question for buyers, sellers and agents to consider now.
The last time the market emerged from lockdown it recovered the momentum lost rapidly. The drivers suggest this could re-occur but strategies will need to be in place.
The initial roadmap for the easing of restrictions for vaccinated people was revealed last week, and the NSW Government also attempted to clear up confusion about investor inspections. Achieving clarity has been an ongoing challenge but agents will push on as best they can, in a COVID-safe way.
In the meantime, clearance rates are expected to remain strong. Interesting CoreLogic figures from last week showed the clearance rate disparity between Sydney and Melbourne, with private inspections allowed in Sydney but not in Melbourne.
There are other factors at play, but the headline difference in clearance rate is over 30 percent in Sydney’s favour. For consumers, it reinforces the importance for agents to be able to continue to do their job, in line with and in the spirit of the lockdown restrictions.
When an agreed vaccination threshold is reached, and we find out what life looks like on the other side, it will be interesting to see if opportunistic buyers, including investors, make a noticeable return.