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Soaring sale figures and skyrocketing buyer inquiry are smoothing out the pandemic scars on Brisbane’s rapidly recovering market as experts say the city is just weeks away from pre-COVID-19 transaction levels.
Director of Brisbane-based Universal Buyers Agents Darren Piper said their team had just clocked a record month of activity with owner-occupiers leading the buyer charge on what was a remarkable show of consumer strength to place the final nail in the coronavirus pandemic coffin.
“As far as buyer inquiry goes, we are back to where we were pre-virus … and it has been a broad spread of budget and location,” Mr Piper said.
“I don’t think we are 100 per cent to where we were at the start of the year, but we’re very close. The virus did knock out some entry-level investors and some first-home buyers … but I think we will see a lot more stock hit the market in the next two weeks.”
He said while vendors had tightened the reins over the past couple of months to precipitate a listings lag, homes were still transacting from entry-level abodes through to multimillion-dollar penthouses.
“I think we are going to get back to that [pre-COVID-19 strength] sooner rather than later, especially given that we had a really cracking start to the year,” Mr Piper said.
“I think we are going to see a huge flurry of stock hit the market in September for spring so we’ll finish the year strong.”
Patrick McKinnon of Place Ascot echoed the sentiment after he and co-selling agent Drew Davies clocked the $4 million transaction of a state-of-the-art duplex in Hamilton – making it one of the top prices achieved across the city during the pandemic. The home features a full-floor parents’ retreat, city views, a wine cellar, a lift and a wet edge pool.
Mr McKinnon said the home was sold to a local buyer with strong interest already building on the remaining duplex at 5 Quarry Street.
“I think it’s the highest sale since COVID started … but in general, our sale numbers and offers have skyrocketed. We will sell more properties this week than throughout all of COVID. The number of offers have also tripled,” Mr McKinnon said.
Mr McKinnon said owner-occupiers looking to upgrade or downgrade were the dominate buyer group with positivity increasing amid mounting evidence that the virus would not have the devastating effects most had feared.
“Brisbane has never really hurt as much as the other cities or states … and the market is already reflecting that,” he said.
McGrath Paddington agent Alex Jordan said their team had also seen a rise in both private and open inspections as the Brisbane market gained positive momentum that defied logic and contradicted forecasting commentary warning of a looming sales slump.
“We are still seeing shortage of stock – in fact we are down 35 per cent year-on-year – so while I wouldn’t say we are in a strong upward trend, Brisbane seems to be more resilient than our southern counterparts. We are the pick of the three capitals,” Mr Jordan said.
“I think it comes down to supply and demand relationships, the contraction of supply and the options available is part of the reason we’re seeing a stable market. Low interest rates is another. Right now, buyers are locking in fixed interest rates at 2.1 per cent and variable rates for between 2.5 and 2.7 per cent. I mean, that’s unheard of.”
Mr Jordan said while the residential market, driven by families on the hunt for lifestyle homes in good school catchments, were leading the buying charge, international investors were wading back into Australian property waters with Chinese and Hong Kong buyers beginning to pounce.
Matt Lancashire of Ray White New Farm agreed that those international buyers were back, and said their office had only suffered a sales hit during April when COVID-19 uncertainty hit its peak. Since then, he said, sales had soared to eclipse year-on-year data.
“This month alone we’ll crack over $40 million in sales as a business whereas this time last year we did $35 million – and that’s solely just from the New Farm office,” Mr Lancashire said.
“Even with the lifting of restrictions the phone started to ring … and I think we are just coming through $100 million in sales year-on-year. To have rebounded so quickly back to completely normal figures is really encouraging.
“The top end of town is trucking.”
Mr Lancashire said stock levels remained tight and while he agreed that Brisbane was head and shoulders above its southern counterparts, it could take more time to see those levels rise.