SOUTH Gippsland’s property market certainly is in great form during the 2020 winter season; rather more so, that is, for sellers than for buyers.
Many more properties have changed hands during the past year than are currently on the market, with sales records regularly breaking during the months before the COVOID-19 pandemic took hold.
New listings in nearly every property category are wanted right now by all three Corner Inlet district real estate agencies with plenty of keen buyers waiting, their confidence bolstered by low interest rates.
The Mirror presents the first in a series of occasional snapshots on the eastern South Gippsland property market, with opinions and insights from Wilsons Prom area realty professionals, in order of receipt.
Paragreen Real Estate, Foster
Paragreen Real Estate sales agent Brent Harriage reckons the market is “still generally doing very well even given the current situation with COVID-19.
“The 12 months previous to COVID-19 coming we were having record months and then in March 2020 things slowed down a little,” he said.
“Once Stage Three restrictions were lifted the market returned to normal and we found that we had a very limited number of properties available for sale compared to the demand from both local and Melbourne buyers.
“Many people considering selling felt that it was a bad time and would wait for COVID-19 to ride out, however prices have not fallen at all here in South Gippsland and properties are still selling well,” Mr Harriage said.
“Our percentage of buyers from Melbourne versus local buyers is about 50 per cent so even while Melbourne is in another Stage Three lock-down we are still selling homes and land to people.
“Two types of properties are especially in demand at the moment, including low maintenance homes on level allotments in town, and small acreage farmlets located reasonably close to town,” he said.
When asked if he thought prospective vendors’ confidence was returning Mr Harriage said “the second wave of COVID-19 restrictions has made people concerned as to what the market may do now given that the numbers are a lot higher than during the first wave.
“However, at this time there are still many buyers out there with the bank interest rate being so low and with other government incentives, people are wanting to take advantage.”
Stockdale and Leggo Coast to Country, Foster
Stockdale and Leggo Coast to Country Foster real estate agent Peter Bellingham said “demand from buyers is increasing, especially for lifestyle properties with houses on five to 10 acres.
“Residential properties on good-sized blocks in local towns are also popular,” he said.
“We are also receiving enquiries for coastal properties, though not very many of those are coming on the market either and as a result prices are going up.
“It certainly is a sellers’ market, with a lot of enquiry from purchasers and growing waiting lists,” Mr Bellingham said.
“We have also noticed a big jump in the number of people viewing properties online, however we are not conducting any actual local inspections for people coming from any COVID-19 lockdown areas, such as the Melbourne metropolitan area at present,” he said.
“Potential buyers from other regional areas within the state, including northern Victoria and east Gippsland though are travelling to South Gippsland to look at what’s available.
“I feel there is a bit of uncertainty about the future which may be keeping vendors from putting their properties on the market, but there is definitely no shortage of buyers now,” Mr Bellingham said.
“Traditionally it is always a little quieter during the winter season, but this year all of South Gippsland is in high demand, and great sales prices along with quick sales are being achieved.”
SEJ Real Estate, Foster
SEJ Real Estate Foster sales agent Andrea Adams believes “the real estate market in our local area has never been more active with an influx of buyers looking to escape major cities.
“Active retirees are now joined by younger families who have realised that their employment is portable, and they are looking to join a supportive community in which to raise children,” she said.
“Strong demand coupled with little on the market to buy is pushing prices up and is reducing the length of time listed properties are on the market.”
Ms Adams said “current state policy still allows buyers from lockdown to travel to view properties in rural locations.
“While online enquiry is generally the starting point for a move, the majority of buyers still wish to visit and to gain an insight into the many features of the area they are seeking to relocate to, and most will seek information regarding services, particularly health and medical, recreation and schooling options.”
Ms Adams said “demand is strong for existing homes in Corner Inlet district townships with very few for sale, and vacant blocks in Foster and Sandy Point are back on the radar for many purchasers with the current government incentives to build at a record high.
“Lack of stock and intense demand at Waratah Bay have meant a jump in prices, and the same applies to small residential acreages within five to 10 minutes from a town, which are hot property, with many selling off market,” she said.
“Other small residential acreages in areas such as Mount Best, Buffalo and Dollar are also in strong demand, and the lack of medium residential/rural acreages between 40 and 120 acres is pushing values up,” Ms Adams said.
“Qualified buyers are waiting for larger farming properties to become available, however regional business are experiencing difficult times with COVID-19 closing many and income streams rollercoasting.”