WITH state Treasurer Tim Pallas predicting a nine per cent slump in stamp duty returns from property sales and industry predictions of auction clearances falling off a cliff, a message of doom and gloom might be expected from the local real estate industry.
But that’s not the case.
Residential sales, while not setting new records, have held steady according to Sale’s John Elliman.
“I just sold a property this morning and we sold two last week,” he said.
“While everything is definitely quieter under the (COVID-19) restrictions and overall demand is slower, it’s still business as usual.
“People still need a roof over their head.
“I have had some very serious interest from people the other side of Melbourne keen to buy properties they had looked at in Sale,” he said.
“The national media can be quick to grasp at anything they can run with but the institute (REIV) indicates the market is fairly consistent and expects the market will rebound when the restrictions are lifted.”
Rural land sales have remained buoyant with the easing of the drought across central and east Gippsland, with good returns for sheep and beef and the promise of pasture growth.
In fact, according to Greg Tuckett of Elders Sale, the rural real estate scene is stronger than ever.
“We are amazed,” he said.
“We have not coughed one bit – not a sneeze – from Welshpool to Dargo; it’s been amazing.
“I sold two properties on Monday, and while the banks are being cautious, it is as strong as ever.
“Existing farms are getting bigger and wanting more land, and the demand for lifestyle properties, and I hate that term, the demand for properties with some acreage, from buyers from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs has skyrocketed.
“If this is an economic crisis (as the treasurer suggests) I’ll have more of them thanks.
“The only downside is we can’t get enough listings. “I’ve got two or three buyers fighting over the same properties.”
Mr Tuckett expressed his belief the social restrictions imposed under the lockdown would lead to even more people moving out of the metropolis and into rural areas.
“There will be a tsunami of movement into rural areas,” he said.
“This thing has been a lesson that life is uncertain and people will want to enjoy an earlier retirement, rather than chase the last dollar in a deal.
“They will want some space and a place in the country.”
Mr Tuckett however expressed concern for some in the agricultural industry that had targeted the high-end restaurant trade and international markets.
“I can see some having to take less for prime cuts of beef, crayfish in supermarkets, because they can’t export as many as in the past and I worry about milk prices given so much of our product is exported.”