By Herron Todd White
The residential market throughout the Illawarra was very strong through the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, with prices starting to pick up but more obviously, selling periods dropping right down. It started to become common that a property would be listed and sold within a week or two if not a matter of days. First home buyer markets appeared to be seeing the most demand;, this would be in the lower price brackets throughout the region – think $600,000 to $700,000 in the northern suburbs and $400,000 to $500,000 in the southern suburbs.
All that has since been thrown on its head with the COVID-19 pandemic. Since mid March, things have started to slow up as restrictions on movement and more recently open homes and auctions have come into place. Market activity is continuing – sales are happening and these sales have still been at decent prices, with no obvious signs of major discounting place – but the number of sales has certainly dried right up.
Take last week as an example (13 to 19 April). There were ten advised residential sales in the Wollongong LGA and 28 the week prior. Compare this with a normal’, non-pandemic week – there were 102 sales in the week of 17 to 23 February or a year ago there were 88 sales in the week 15 to 21 April.
We are aware of a few cases in the region where an initial agreement to sell was renegotiated down due to the purchaser getting cold feet given the unknown future, however these were more towards the start of the restriction period. Buyers now tend to be more sure of themselves and more confident of what they’re getting themselves into.
The outlook for the remainder of the year is difficult to predict. It is going to be significantly impacted by government restrictions, unemployment and stimulus packages. We can see the market remaining in this low transaction holding period for another month or two until there is more of an idea as to what is happening in the broader landscape.
Speak with a Wollongong Mortgage Broker today.