By Herron Todd White
May 2020

Statewide

The Apple Isle unfortunately has the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in the country, however the good news is that much of the infection is based in the north-west sector of the state where a significant cluster developed out of the medical centres. This region has been in significant lockdown for over a week.

The balance of the state, being the north and southern regions, while in standard lock down are largely infection free which is an encouraging development.

Our Tasmanian Herron Todd White office buildings have now been fully closed for almost five weeks with all staff working remotely from home. Our administration team meets every morning thanks to Zoom and there are weekly catch ups for an online Friday afternoon drink!

Contactless inspections for those isolated remain a small percentage of our work, representing just about two percent of volume.

While market activity has been subdued, we are not seeing any evidence of price adjustments to date.

There has been, especially in the south and east coast, a flood of ex-Airbnb properties onto the rental market. This may actually have a positive result in Hobart by easing the housing shortage with additional supply.

Discussions held with local residential property managers suggest that while there have been some tenants asking for rent relief, this has not been widespread.

Tasmania is largely reliant on the tourism sector which has been stopped in its tracks. While an easing of the lockdown would be a welcome relief and may provide the opportunity for intra-state tourism, it is very unlikely a sustained recovery will occur until planes can fly in again. The potential loss of Virgin services could also exacerbate the situation. It took many years for the state to recover from the pilots’ strike and there is a fear that the hoped for bounce back once lockdown is lifted maybe more like a dead cat bounce!

As the old saying goes, crisis provides opportunity. As mentioned earlier, we have yet to see any significant price adjustment movement. That said, it is logical that mainland buyers will not be active in our market for the next period. This is likely to weaken demand and thus provide buying opportunities for local first home buyers and investors. The collapse of the Airbnb sector is also likely to see some properties offered to the market that otherwise may not have been. This may provide additional supply to the inner to middle ring Hobart suburbs together with more tightly held coastal markets such as Coles Bay.

Despite the current situation, there remains optimism for the state. If and when the virus is contained in Tasmania, the state has the opportunity to build on its clean, green persona. The past few years have already seen climate changers coming to the state to escape the heat in mainly Queensland and Western Australia. To this list, we could expect virus changers to make the move. Tasmania does not have an operational international airport which provides a buffer when that sector of travel finally reopens.

Hoping all stay well as we progress through what are certainly challenging times.

Speak with a Tasmania Mortgage Broker today.