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Ninety days to spring

Since the outset of the pandemic, RE/MAX Australia director Joel Davoren has led a weekly, or more frequent, on-line session with up to 200 participants from across Australia and New Zealand.

He’s heard week-on-week agent comments about inquiry rates, which have remained encouragingly ‘better’ or ‘same’ as opposed to ‘worse’; and has also witnessed positive outcomes such as three sales off the back of 13 virtual open homes in the second week of restrictions.

In a normally functioning real estate market, the average time for a listing tends to be 90 days.

“Ninety days – that’s a standard time in real estate terms,” Mr Davoren said. “So, as of Wednesday, 3 June, we are a natural property transaction cycle away from spring, when it’s often said that people traditionally sell their homes.

“Actually, a house can sell and a buyer may want to buy in any season – there’s a lot more to the market than just the weather.”

He cautions sellers on waiting until 90 days out to start conversations with agents and take their property to the market.

“Don’t wait until your property is competing with all the other listings,” he says, making the point that the real estate market continues to move forward as it has always done, albeit the natural transaction cycle may prove slightly different to the one we are used to.

“Consumer sentiment is driving any downturn we are seeing in the real estate market rather than economic sentiment; and it is the ‘little things’ like being able to go for a 50km drive then a 150km drive, and like easing up on or removing restrictions around open homes, that will lift consumer sentiment.

“I won’t be surprised to see an increase in new listings over the coming weeks.”

He says buyers will react.

“While clearly recognising the trying times that many in our communities are facing, pent-up buyer appetite does exist out there in the market as demonstrated by record numbers on the property portals.

“Hearing that real estate restrictions have been peeled back, that they, for instance, may attend open homes and auctions – abiding distancing rules and safe hygiene practices – will boost consumer sentiment.”

He suggests that sellers and buyers, along with agents, should not fall back into old habits because the real estate landscape has shifted through COVID-19.

“When choosing an agent, sellers need to look at that agent’s performance through the worst of the restrictions… through those first six to eight weeks.

He said a new benchmark now existed for the way agents should be connecting with buyers and sellers, and there was an observable shift in how agents were working with buyers.

“Before this crisis, we had already seen a shift towards this new trend, but agents were still predominantly relying on the property to draw the buyer.

“The pandemic has proved to be the catalyst for an increasing focus on the buyer and driving momentum for working harder and smarter and better matching buyers with property.

“Our consultation with buyers has never been better. We are highly engaged and connected, and excited about what lies ahead,” Mr Davoren said.

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