Perth property market recovery delayed but not destroyed

 

Delayed but not destroyed

The state’s peak real estate and property body has added to recent commentary that COVID-19 has delayed but not destroyed the long-awaited recovery of Perth’s property market.

But in the same breath the Real Estate Institute of WA warned the recovery would need significant support, sustaining calls to reform the stamp duty tax and remove or soften this costly barrier to homebuyers.

REIWA announced on Tuesday that residential listings for sale and rent in WA on its site were the lowest they had been in six years with available stock dropping, not rising, during the COVID-19 restriction period.

There are almost 30 per cent fewer properties currently for sale than there were at this time last year and the same goes for rentals, with the vacancy rate at only 2.4 per cent.

The average discount accepted by sellers has reduced to seven per cent, 0.5 per cent lower than May last year.

REIWA president Damian Collins said due to the lower than normal stock levels and reduction of discounting, there should not be any major downward price pressure and it was likely the current median price of $477,000 would remain relatively stable over coming months.

The state’s economy was bouncing back much quicker than many experts thought and it was unlikely the property market recovery would be reversed.

“While it’s still not a great market it’s now almost normal in terms of volume, every day the volume of rental stock is dropping … quite significantly,” Mr Collins said.

“Going into COVID-19 there were still some downturn risks but those have really dissipated, and barring a second wave I am struggling to see any risk of downward pressure.”

Mr Collins sustained calls for the state to ensure continued recovery through reforming stamp duty, which could add tens of thousands to the cost of a new house.

A major government revenue stream when the market is healthy, stamp duty is nevertheless seen as an inefficient revenue-raiser, because in difficult times that revenue drops while the barrier it represents to homebuyers stays high.

Long-term replacement of stamp duty with broad-based land taxes phased in over a period of years has started in the Australian Capital Territory and is being discussed in Victoria and New South Wales.

Recently Opposition Leader Liza Harvey released a six-month plan to kickstart WA’s economy, including a 75 per cent cut in stamp duty for house and land packages, and urged the government to keep significant permanent reform on the table.

But Premier Mark McGowan ruled it out and said replacing stamp duty with a rate on every household would not help the economy.

Mr Collins said the amount per property would in fact need to be less than $1000 to make the same amount of revenue, and Mr McGowan’s response did not take into account the possibilities of a long-term, phased approach to a broad-based land tax that made use of exemptions and options such as allowing people to choose whether they paid a lump sum or annual amount.

He said there was pressure on both sides of politics to come up with alternatives for what “every side agress is not a good tax”.

“It penalises people who move, it’s got nothing to do with wealth or income … even Victoria and New South Wales are saying they want to get rid of it so there are opportunities there for WA politicians to take a brave stance, this is the time,” he said.

Mr Collins’ comments followed prominent Perth developer Paul Blackburne saying WA’s market recovery might be delayed a few months but, he believed, would recommence by spring and would not mirror the pain the eastern states faced.

And on Friday, WA’s biggest apartment developer Finbar’s managing director Darren Pateman also said there could be reasonable confidence that WA stood to recover quicker from the COVID-19 crisis than other states.

Mr Pateman called on the government to extend a rebate beyond off-the-plan sales to projects under construction and new completed stock, to encourage commencements and allow capital to be redirected to new projects.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia WA also on Friday called for long and short-term reforms to the tax in the wake of glum new housing commencement forecasts.

Property tipped to hold up against virus strain

House prices predicted to remain stable over the medium term

The COVID-19 pandemic is unlikely to cause a significant drop in Perth house values over the medium term, according to insight from a national property investment association.

Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) said compared to other mass economic hits, the property market would likely be shielded by low interest rates, inflation, the ability to defer mortgage repayments and previously strong conditions.

“Whenever there is a global financial shock, some commentators predict huge property price falls, which ultimately don’t happen,” PIPA Chairman Peter Koulizos said.

Previous predictions

“During the global financial crisis, prices were forecast to fall by 30 per cent, but in many locations they held their ground and even strengthened over the months and years afterwards.

“While the coronavirus situation is somewhat different, given it’s a temporary public health emergency, I believe property prices may temporarily soften by five to 10 per cent at most but rebound relatively quickly.”

Frasers Property Australia Residential General Manager Tod O’Dwyer agreed financial relief was playing a big role in keeping Australian property afloat, as well as the industry adapting quickly to the situation by introducing virtual tours, online inspections, video links and electronic sales contracts.

“It’s an encouraging sign that we are still seeing sales activity in the local market, as evidenced by the recent rebound in the number of sales across Perth for existing properties,” he said.

“The strong initial response to our new East Green community in Greenwood is a good indicator of buyer demand for well-located property.

“Given the COVID-19 environment, we were curious to see what the market response would be and we have been pleasantly surprised.

“We’ve had more than 100 expressions of interest in the past month for property in this new community, which we expect will become available for purchase in the second half of this year.

“The financial institutions have made some significant steps towards reducing the cost of borrowing, so for those people whom job security is not a consideration, the current market may represent a strong buying opportunity.

“If this competition within the lending industry stays in place for some time, it will bode well to support a steady recovery post COVID-19.”

Mr O’Dwyer predicted Perth’s market would stabilise towards the end of the year, but he said market recovery would depend on some major influences, such as the return of interstate and international immigration, population growth and international education.

Source: TheWest

WA Unveils Housing Boost

The $150m housing investment package

The state government of Western Australia has unveiled a $150m housing investment package in an effort to boost the residential building sector.

The news could not have come at a better time for the residential building industry, which has already reported a 50% reduction in pipeline as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, said Cath Hart, executive director for WA at the Housing Industry Association (HIA).

“Supporting and sustaining job-creating sectors such as construction through the pandemic will be vital for economic recovery. It will create much-needed additional activity across the residential building supply chain,” he said.

Around $19m of the package will be allocated for 200 additional shared-equity homes. These will be delivered in partnership with Keystart.

The Housing Industry Forecasting Group recently reduced its forecast for new dwelling commencements in WA for 2019-20 by 19% – from 15,500 to 12,500, the lowest level ever, adjusting for population.

“This downturn will hurt businesses and workers in the home-building supply chain over at least the next 12 months. Unfortunately, many in our industry are not eligible for the JobKeeper safety net because of the way state governments regulate home-building progress payments,” Hart said.

Latest figures from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) show that the Perth residential property market is already feeling the impact of sluggish building activity.

Damian Collins, president of REIWA, said the number of properties for sale and rent has already hit a six-year low.

“Perth’s property market has been showing signs of recovery since October 2019, and while COVID-19 may delay this, it most likely won’t stop it,” he said. “The state’s economy is coming back much quicker than many experts thought, and as long as it continues to recover, it is unlikely the property-market recovery will be reversed.”

Collins said the limited stock will help support prices. He said the average discount accepted by sellers has reduced to 7%, lower than last year.

“If we were in a struggling market, we would see this number higher as sellers accepted lower than normal prices,” he said. “There should not be any major downward price pressure, and it is likely that the current median sale price will remain relatively stable over the coming months.”

 

Source: YourInvestmentProperty

WA To Relax Coronavirus Number Restrictions – Home Opens Allowed

CommCollect

Great news for home opens

West Australian Premier Mark McGowan has announced an easing of gathering restrictions to allow for up to 10 people at once to be allowed to gather in one location.

This is a huge boost for the WA housing market, with the restrictions meaning home opens (and display villages) will be allowed to operate again from tomorrow.

The government has precautioned this, saying that it will be under strict health controls. The exact details of these controls are still yet to be fully understood.

WA has not recorded any new cases in the past 24 hours of the coronavirus, off the back of the one case reported yesterday related to the Costa Luminosa cruise ship (a 65-year-old West Australian Woman). South Australia has seen a similar slowdown and it’s anticipated it will follow closely in easing restrictions, but the exact details are again still yet to be determined.

Trying to anticipate exactly how the market will rebound is difficult, given this disaster has been under such unique circumstances. The most recent economic crisis didn’t greatly affect the housing market, with the effects of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-2009 only being felt on a small scale in Australia.

It is anticipated that there have been a number of vendors who have put selling their home off due to these restrictions will likely enter the marketplace immediately. The WA government is suggesting that this may be the first step towards economic recovery for a state that has continued to hold a strong foothold in the resources market throughout the crisis.

 

Source: CommCollect

3 ways to pay off your mortgage faster

Paying off a mortgage is one of the primary financial goals many Australians have – if not the sole one.

A home is often a family’s largest asset, so paying off the mortgage is a big step towards financial freedom and living a comfortable retirement.

Unfortunately, it remains a massive task to accomplish – even with interest rates at their lowest levels in history.

So here are three tips for paying off your mortgage faster, so you can spend your hard-earned money on more important things!

Get a better rate

Even though interest rates are close to zero, many banks haven’t fully passed on these cuts. That’s why (if you haven’t already), you should pick up the phone today and ask Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), or whichever bank you have your loan through, if you’re getting the lowest rate you can. Even shaving 0.2% off your mortgage rate can save you thousands of dollars over the lifespan of the loan.

Who would you rather have that extra dough – you, or your bank? Exactly!

Pay more than the minimum repayments

A principal-and-interest loan sees interest-dominated repayments required at the start of the loan, which taper over time as you pay off more of the principal. That’s why making extra repayments on top of the minimum amount required can dramatically shave off years (and interest charges) from your loan. It can also help protect you from the possibility of higher interest rates down the road.

If you’re in your first year of a 25-year mortgage, every extra $100 you pay is $100 you won’t pay interest on for 25 years. How’s that for a return?!

Invest alongside your loan

Many people save investing for when the mortgage is paid off, but there’s a better way to do it if you’re careful.

Say you have an interest rate of 2.5% on your mortgage. If you invest in an ASX dividend share that pays you 4% a year in dividends, you can use this extra passive income to help you make additional payments down the road, all whilst holding an income-producing asset.

Of course, this option isn’t for the faint of heart, as ASX investments can fluctuate wildly in value and some won’t always pay consistent dividends. But if used prudently, I think this is a path anyone with a mortgage can use to their advantage.

And if you’re looking for a good dividend share for this step, I would suggest taking a look at the free report below!

NEW: Expert names top dividend stock for 2020 (free report)

When our resident dividend expert Edward Vesely has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, he’s the investing genius that runs Motley Fool Dividend Investor, the newsletter service that has picked huge winners like Dicker Data (+92%), SDI Limited (+53%) and National Storage (+35%).*

Edward has just named what he believes is the number one ASX dividend stock to buy for 2020.

This fully franked “under the radar” company is currently trading more than 24% below its all-time high and paying a 6.7% grossed up dividend

The name of this dividend dynamo and the full investment case is revealed in this brand new free report.

But you will have to hurry – history has shown it can pay dividends to get in early to some of Edward’s stock picks, and this dividend stock is already on the move.

Source:Fool.com.au

 

Perth: Surprising recovery for property market

A “surprisingly” quick recovery

FROM record lows in April, the Perth property market has made a “surprisingly” quick recovery according to Reiwa president Damian Collins.

“I think the market has ridden a rollercoaster wave of confidence,” he said.

“April had the lowest transactions on record.

“What’s interesting is how quickly, in the last week of April and coming into May, things have bounced back.

“It’s been surprisingly positive and it’s happened surprisingly quicker than we could have thought six or seven weeks ago.”

There were 527 sales in the week ending May 10, 32.7 per cent higher than the week before and just short of double the 264 sales recorded a four weeks ago.

The number of sales is on par with the same time last year and Mr Collins said while Perth was experiencing an “ordinary market” then, it was still a positive sign.

Another positive sign for ongoing improvement was stock levels, which were decreasing before COVID-19 and have continued to decline through April.

Mr Collins said the number of homes for sale and rent were at the lowest levels since 2014.

The number of Perth homes listed for sale on reiwa.com was 11,611 at the end of last week, 30 per cent lower than a year ago.

There were 5420 homes listed for rent, 23 per cent lower than 12 month ago.

“(Listings) are even lower than they were in February and early March when we were having a much better market,” Mr Collins said.

“Speaking to agents over the weekend it was pretty buoyant, there is activity, there’s just not enough properties around for lease or sale.”

Supporting the market’s rapid bounceback was pent-up demand, which has led to the decline in stock, the quick return to almost-normal life and Perth’s housing affordability.

“(Earlier this year) the demand was there, rents were starting to increase, prices were increasing and we were kicking off into a better market,” Mr Collins said.

“Then of course when COVID came it scared everybody; the headlines originally were we’re going to have 20 per cent unemployment, prices were going to drop X per cent and people got fearful.

“Now they’re realising that’s not going to happen.

“We’re not going to have that bad a market in WA, we’re not going to have that unemployment, even hospitality, we’re opening up cafes next week, albeit with only 20 people, but things are starting to get back to normal and it’s just giving people that confidence again.”

When it came to affordability Mr Collins said Perth prices were the lowest they have been since 2013.

“When you look at our affordability across the country we’re the most affordable capital city by a long way,” he said.

“Our (average) income is higher than pretty much every capital city, including Sydney and Melbourne, and yet our house prices are half of Sydney and about 30 per cent per cent lower than Melbourne.

“And the median price in Adelaide is about the same as Perth, yet our income on average is 25-30 per cent higher.

“There’s pent up demand, the oversupply has gone, people are looking at getting a loan for 2.29 per cent and they’re just thinking, maybe it’s not a bad time.”

Mr Collins said, compared to March, when WA went into lockdown and restrictions were imposed on the property market, there was now more confidence the market would hold its own.

“If we continue to have an economic recovery and the economy continues to go back to normal, certainly the market could hold,” he said.

“I think the risk that was looking significant on April 1 is probably not looking very significant at this stage.”

Source: PerthNow

 

Perth’s top 10 fastest-selling suburbs

REIWA has revealed Perth’s 10 fastest-selling suburbs for the 12 months to March 2020.

It took an average of 47 days to sell a property in the Greater Perth region, but some suburbs are bucking that trend.

Here are the suburbs people can’t wait to move into.

10. Willagee

Kicking off the top 10 fastest selling suburbs for houses in Perth is Willagee, 12km south of Perth and only a 10 minute drive to Fremantle and surrounding beaches. In the 12 months to March 2020 the median number of days to sell a house in Willagee was 26 days, which is 21 days faster than the Perth region. Willagee has a great community vibe which has gained popularity with young couples and families. The median house price in Willagee is $513,750, a 3.1 per cent decline on the same time last year. During the 12 months to March 2020, 100 houses sold in Willagee.

9. Kinross

Boasting an average of 25 days to sell is Kinross, which is a northern suburb of Perth, 26km from the Perth CBD. Kinross is favoured option among families looking to live somewhere with great schooling options, recreational facilities and parks. The median house price in Kinross is $465,000 which represents a 0.4 per cent decline on the same time last year. In the 12 months to March 2020 there were 84 houses sold in Kinross.

8. Joondanna

Also with a median selling time of 25 days is Joondanna. Situated just six kilometres from the Perth CBD, Joondanna’s median house price declined by 5.6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2020, which leaves the figure at $613,500. Joondanna’s prime location is the suburb’s major selling point, with close proximity to the city, freeways, public transport and schools. There were 58 houses sold in Joondanna during the 12 months to March 2020.

7. Doubleview

At number seven and with a median selling day of 25 days is Doubleview. In the year to March 2020 there were 142 house sales in Doubleview and its median house price experienced a 6.1 per cent decline taking the figure to $687,500. With stunning views of the Indian Ocean to the west and the Darling Ranges to the east, Doubleview is a suburb in high demand, especially for families wanting to put their kids into Churchlands Senior High School.

City views from Sydenham Rd and Ewen St in Doubleview.
City views from Sydenham Rd and Ewen St in Doubleview. Credit: News Corp Australia

6. Beldon

Located 20km north of Perth, houses in Beldon do not stay on the market for long, with its median selling time coming in at 25 days for the 12 months to March 2020. For a relatively small suburb it is popular among buyers seeking to live close to public transport, the beach, parks and shops. The median house price in Beldon increased 4.5 per cent to $465,000, making it a great choice for first home buyers and young families. During the 12 months to March 2020, 53 houses sold in Beldon.

5. Manning

Positioned seven kilometres from Perth’s CBD and in close proximity to Curtin University, Manning is in the enviable position of being close to major urban areas, while still removed enough to enjoy the benefits of a suburban lifestyle. Manning rounds out the top five fastest-selling suburbs with an average time of 23 days to sell a house. In the 12 months to March 2020, 54 houses sold in Manning.

4. Heathridge

With a median selling time of 23 days, Heathridge is Perth’s fourth-fastest selling suburb for houses. It’s median house price for the 12 months to March 2020 was $426,000 which is a 0.9 per cent decline when compared to the same time last year. Heathridge is a northern suburb of Perth 33km south of Yanchep located within the city of Joondalup. It’s close to the beach, public transport and Kwinana Freeway making it a desirable northern suburb to live if you want to be a little bit further away from the hustle and bustle of the city. During the 12 months to March 2020, 109 houses sold in Heathridge.

3. Carine

Carine is Perth’s third-fastest selling suburb according to its median selling time for the 12 months to March 2020 which was 22 days. There were 80 houses sold in Carine and the median house price decreased 2.4 per cent, taking the figure to $788,000. Carine is located 14km north of Perth CBD within the City of Stirling. Carine is well served by local transport, amenities and services which make it a popular suburb among buyers.

Carine Regional Open Space.
Carine Regional Open Space. Credit: Chris Kershaw Photographer/City of Stirling

2. Kingsley

Kingsley is a family-orientated suburb offering a selection of schools, parks and recreational facilities. The median time it takes to sell a house in Kingsley is 21 days, which is notably faster than the Perth region average. Kingsley is located approximately 20km north of Perth CBD and has a median house price of $555,000, which represents a 2.8 per cent increase in the 12 months to March 2020. During that time, there were 151 houses sold in Kingsley.

1. Shenton Park

Ranking number one as Perth’s fastest-selling suburb – for the second time in a row – is Shenton Park. The median time to sell your house in Shenton Park is just 20 days, 27 days quicker than the Perth average. Shenton Park is located in Perth’s prestigious Western Suburbs, close to the CBD, public transport and Shenton College. The median house price for Shenton Park is $1.126 million suggesting the suburb’s property value remains healthy with buyers seeking out houses in the higher end of the spectrum. Shenton Park’s median house price declined 1.9 per cent in the 12 months to March 2020, with 37 houses sold.

The fastest-selling suburbs.
The fastest-selling suburbs. Credit: Supplied

Source: PerthNow

 

Perth property post-COVID: How recent pain could prove our gain

It’s good news

WA property has sat at the bottom of its cycle for what feels like forever. Homeowners, trapped in negative equity, have listened with rising scepticism to real estate agents’ slightly desperate-sounding promises we had definitely hit rock bottom and the tide was about to turn.

In recent pre-pandemic months it actually seemed they were about to deliver on these predictions, with prices showing signs of life for the first time in years.

Then COVID-19 hit. National property news acquired horrorstruck tones and in late March, a prominent Perth developer struck a further note of foreboding.

Finbar announced the May launch and October construction start dates of its landmark Civic Heart towers in South Perth would be dumped, along with any other new launches.

It flagged “marked impact on confidence and sales activity on the Perth, national and global markets for some time” and “the likelihood of deferred decision-making by property customers”.

Developer Paul Blackburne says his projects, including as One Subiaco at the former pavilion markets site, are back to strong sales after a tough fortnight in April.

Flattened the curve

But with WA having flattened the curve, it seems the market’s formerly underwhelming position, plus a large slice of the population having little to do but sit at home planning ways to spend money, have combined to justify optimism.

Planning and property consulting firm Urbis keeps tabs on the city’s major projects, and director David Cresp said while social distancing had slowed down construction on some sites, it was in most cases still proceeding.

For projects already launched, pre-sales would continue to dictate construction start dates, and while getting presales had been more difficult, developers had a “business as usual” approach.

“Where you are seeing delays is projects that haven’t launched yet, and are choosing to delay a bit on the launching, because to launch a project means a lot of expenditure and effort that goes into marketing,” he said.

“Obviously all that is a bit less impactful in the current times.”

But given Perth’s challenging market, Mr Cresp said, many developers who had received planning approvals over the past year had been holding off on launches anyway.

Paul Blackburne, the developer behind the reimagining of the Subiaco Pavilion Markets site, said sales had flagged for a fortnight in April but had picked back up.

His company, Blackburne, had already sold 70 per cent of its Marina East-Ascot Waters development just completed this week, and had almost 100 people booked to view the remaining 19 apartments at this weekend’s opening.

Mr Blackburne said WA was the best place to be right now, being at the opposite end of the property cycle to Sydney and Melbourne.

Even with an expected price correction of around 10 per cent in Sydney and Melbourne, prices in those cities would remain almost double what they were 5-8 years ago.

The contrast

By contrast, Perth prices had doubled from 2003-2007, were now back at 2007 prices and were at the beginning of their upswing stage.

At worst, median price and rent increases over the past three months might drop over winter back to where they started three months ago.

But even this might not be across the board, given Perth’s residential ‘sub-markets’.

Mr Blackburne expected prices in outer suburbs to decline in the short term by 4 per cent, before a strong rebound and 6 per cent growth over the next year.

But elsewhere there was under-supply of large, well priced, high-end apartments, and he expected modest growth over winter.

Overall, he expected Perth property prices to increase 15 per cent over the next three years, with that growth to have started by spring across the city.

“For apartments in the western suburbs, with a limited supply and increasing demand from downsizing locals, we are increasing prices at the end of May,” he said.

Artist's render of The Sanctuary, Mount Pleasant. construction on which has been delayed but only by a couple of months.
Artist’s render of The Sanctuary, Mount Pleasant. construction on which has been delayed but only by a couple of months. CREDIT:DEVELOPWISE

Time to buy

“Our market is mostly wealthy baby boomers who understand market cycles and that now is the time to buy.”

DevelopWise, proponent of The Sanctuary in Mount Pleasant, is also catering to this market.

The luxury development was already more than 70 per cent sold when the pandemic hit and purchasers were mainly affluent local downsizers who hadn’t been financially adversely impacted, developer John Woon said.

COVID-19 restrictions had caused a couple of months’ delay to the scheduled construction start date of April, but that was all.

“We are pleased to advise that we have submitted for Sanctuary’s building permit last week and expect to receive approval sometime this month,” Mr Woon said.

“Our builder also assured us that materials are sourced locally and they do not foresee any major construction time delays.”

Source:BrisbaneTimes

 

Some relief for struggling Perth market

FOR those who were wanting to sell or buy, or have investment properties in the Perth region, a recent announcement brings good news.

The State government has reduced restrictions on the real estate sector to allow the number of people who can attend a home open to be increased from two people (including the agent) to a maximum of 10.

Real Estate Institute of WA (REIWA) president Damian Collins said with sales transactions sitting at a record low of less than 300 per week in Perth in recent weeks, this was positive news for the property market.

“There are many people who are still required to buy, sell or rent a property during the COVID-19 pandemic and this decision will help remove some of the limitations to viewing a property and will be a positive step in helping to increase transactions,” Mr Collins said.

Current social distancing and hygiene rules will still apply with real estate agents required to also maintain a register of people who attend each home open.

“While Western Australia seems to be passed the worst of the outbreak, we still take the current restrictions seriously and will be working closely with our members and the government to ensure that we do our part in helping to reduce the spread,” Mr Collins said.

“The cautious relaxation in restrictions, coupled with the announcement to provide rental assistance for those in financial stress, is most welcomed by REIWA and we hope this is the beginning of things starting to look up – not just for real estate but for the wider WA economy.”

The announcement also applies to viewing display homes and was welcomed by Housing Industry Australia (HIA) director Cath Hart.

“Display homes are the shopfront for home building but distancing requirements meant they have been closed other than by appointment,” Ms Hart said.

“This has meant very few new home building projects were initiated over the past month – in fact HIA’s weekly survey of WA display home traffic saw visitor numbers plummet by more than 90 per cent from about 2500 in early March to fewer than 50 last weekend.

“That will translate into a trough in WA’s residential building pipeline over the coming 12 months, so we’re also working on proposals to support the next stage of economic recovery.”

 

Source:FarmWeekly

Relieved Perth real estate agents plan home opens for this weekend

Perth real estate agents are breathing a sigh of relief after the West Australian government included WA government home opens and display village inspections involving up to 10 people among newly permitted gatherings.

In recent weeks, pre-booked private viewings with agents have been the only inspections allowed.

Chanel Majeks, a sales representative for Fremantle’s Dethridge Groves, said the agency had been using videos, videoconferencing appointments and private inspections and was perhaps better placed to do so than some other agents because it had always catered for a strong contingent of east coast buyers.

But while there had been a lot of activity showing people were accessing the online resources, this hadn’t translated into many bookings for private viewings, particularly for higher-end homes.

She said there was no underestimating the importance of people feeling comfortable to attend home opens, so the easing of restrictions was warmly welcomed.

“There is always going to be an emphasis on letting people look through, get a feel for the home,” she said.

“Like anything that’s a big investment you want to know there is a good sense of where the property is, in proximity to local restaurants and things like that, how light works in the home, even … the height of fence tops for example, or where the storage is.

“People will always want to see that for themselves.”

Ms Majeks planned to speak with vendors by mid-week to organise home opens for this weekend.

Her team would be making hand sanitiser available, staggering the number of people coming into the property, encouraging people to avoid touching anything at the properties, and of course not to attend if they had been unwell.

They had also eliminated handing brochures out, or asking people to manually enter details on the register of attendees (which the state requires). Instead agents would enter attendees’ details directly on to their tablets to avoid any physical contact. All brochures and contracts would be sent electronically.

Real Estate Institute of WA President Damian Collins said with sales transactions sitting at a record low of less than 300 per week in Perth in recent weeks, this was positive news.

“There are many people who are still required to buy, sell or rent a property during the COVID-19 pandemic and this decision will help remove some of the limitations to viewing a property and will be a positive step in helping to increase transactions,” Mr Collins said.

“While Western Australia seems to be past the worst of the outbreak, we still take the current restrictions seriously and will be working closely with our members and the government to ensure that we do our part in helping to reduce the spread.

“The cautious relaxation in restrictions coupled with the announcement to provide rental assistance for those in financial stress, is most welcomed by REIWA and we hope this is the beginning of things starting to look up – not just for real estate but for the wider WA economy.”

REIWA looked forward to working with the State Government on other initiatives over the coming months in relation to COVID-19 support, including the Commercial Code of Conduct.

Source: WAToday