LEONGATHA real estate agent Andrew Newton is hopeful his industry may have ridden out the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic with prices holding firm.
The branch manager of Alex Scott and Staff, Leongatha, Mr Newton said enquiries and appraisals were on the rise after a slow period.
“Enquiries for April were down in the first three weeks by 90 per cent, however, the last week seems to be getting back to normal,” Mr Newton said.
“I would say in the last week we are at full steam on rural properties, both farms and lifestyle properties, however, the residential properties enquiries are still slow. I would say the lack of new listings is also a cause of the low enquiries on houses.”
He hopes a rush of appraisals in the last week will all convert to listings and stimulate the enquiry rate.
Sales in the Leongatha office were down by 50 per cent for the month of April but Mr Newton was not complaining.
“I feel we are very fortunate to be able to have kept the wheels turning, albeit slower than normal.
“Again, the last week has proven to buck the trend, as we are seeing sales across the region begin to appear. In talking to my colleagues at our other offices in Gippsland, we are all feeling the same pattern – the phones started to ring about a week ago.”
Mr Newton said vendors who were in a position to hold on rather than drop their price would do so, and he did not believe the property prices in the area had been impacted yet.
“Our median price is so low compared to Melbourne prices, I don’t think we will see the same impact,” he said.
“Our rural properties, particularly beef and dairy farm properties and broad acres, are holding up extremely well.”
Like so many other industries, real estate has made significant changes to operations due to COVID-19, including staff working remotely and strict adherence to social distancing rules.
“We have also implemented video inspections on a lot of rental and sales properties,” Mr Newton said.
“We are looking forward to getting back to normal. What that ‘new normal’ looks like is yet to be seen.”