By Herron Todd White
A year unlike any other. At the start of 2020 we looked forward and predicted what the year might hold. We certainly didn’t predict a pandemic and the restrictions and economic downturn it created. We envisioned that the market would continue the more positive sentiment seen towards the end of 2019. This was accurate for the first three months of the year up until COVID-19 became a dominant topic and the market effectively stalled as uncertainty crept in. For the months of April and May, RP Data records show that only 466 residential properties transacted within the Wollongong LGA, a rate of 233 per month. For the remaining months (January to March and June to October), 2,434 residential transactions occurred, a rate of 304 per month.
Whilst the number of sales did dry up, prices didn’t take a big hit as might have been expected. In the early days of the pandemic evolving, we became aware of a small number of sales being renegotiated lower by the purchaser, however this didn’t last long as the population quickly learnt more about who was being impacted and how.
Those still in a stable position became more confident and as the year progressed, sales picked up and so did prices. Throughout the Illawarra region, 44 residential properties sold in excess of $3 million, with the rural residential sector properties, 11 sold for over $4 million with the most expensive being a 60-hectare Rose Valley property for $6.05 million. Two coastal homes topped $4 million, one each in Thirroul and Gerroa.
In our 2020 prediction, we did want to keep an eye on Wollongong CBD units with a number of large projects nearing completion. By the end of the year, 560 units will have settled over four major developments in the Wollongong CBD with the agents of Avantè, Skye, Signature and Parq all advising that the majority of units have been sold. Developers are showing confidence that the market will continue to hold or strengthen as a number of new projects continue their construction including 149 units in Crownview (373 Crown Street) and 92 units in Aire (38 Atchison Street) along with smaller developments either in the construction or planning phases.
The strength of the market throughout the back end of the year in the midst of the pandemic has certainly been surprising. The Illawarra’s location, price bracket and lifestyle are playing a part in providing an attractive place to reside. Agents are reporting stronger than usual buyer enquiry from Sydney as a large part of the workforce has suddenly become more flexible with working remotely and a commute to Sydney one or two days a week is much more bearable than five days.
Residential Team Leader
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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. It is intended to be of a general nature only. It has been prepared without taking into account any person’s objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, Smartline recommends that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Smartline recommends that you seek independent legal, financial, and taxation advice before acting on any information in this article.