Sydney home-buying hopefuls face less choice than usual this spring selling season, with the amount of properties for sale rebounding but not yet back to normal levels.
Spring is usually the busiest time of the year for the Sydney housing market but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to shake up life as we know it.
There are 407 auctions scheduled on Saturday, the first spring selling weekend, down from 436 at the same time last year, according to Domain data.
Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell said more homes have been listed on the market since restrictions were eased in July, but the volume for sale still has not returned to normal levels.
“We did see the lockdown and ban on auctions interrupt new listings coming onto the market and affect the auctions,” Dr Powell said. “The later autumn happened in winter and that will blur the transition into the spring season.
“The pent-up supply has caught up in July and August. We’ve seen a more normal level of auctions in the past three weeks.”
The property market has ebbed and flowed in alignment with the pandemic, rather than the weather, according to BresicWhitney’s head of sales Thomas McGlynn.
“It’s definitely a lot more resilient than people were predicting,” Mr McGlynn said. “Because travel and school holidays have been affected, seasonality hasn’t really played any part in the way the property market has ebbed and flowed over the course of winter.
“We were reporting near-record results of transactions through the winter months.”
Mr McGlynn said sellers would continue to record strong sales on their properties in spring but buyers would be hard pressed to find homes.
Areas within a two to three-kilometre radius of the CBD would see buyers have more choice as more investors decided to sell, but the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis would be felt less further away from apartment-heavy markets.
OH Property Group buyers’ agency principal Henny Stier said while the market had strong demand, buyers were acutely aware of the pandemic.
“The buyers have been following a COVID season but the sellers are still following a weather season,” Ms Stier said, adding that spring would be stronger than the previous months.
“We’re moving into a cycle where vendors want it done quickly and painlessly … buyers are extremely volatile, extremely picky and extremely price sensitive.”
In the Hills district, The Agency North selling agent Sunny Gandhi said there was nowhere near enough homes to meet buyer demand in the area.
“We’re actually expecting a busy spring market with a lot more properties coming onto the market,” he said. “We’ve been busy with appraisals and new listings, ready to launch for spring.
“A good indication is that all the auctioneers are booked all the way through October,” he said, adding that the market has started a month earlier due to the shortage of properties.
On the lower north shore, Raine&Horne Lane Cove senior sales agent Rebecca Mitchell said they had recorded strong sales throughout the winter, which was unusual in the best of times.
“I’m not seeing any season at the moment. I’m not worried about school holidays,” Ms Mitchell said, adding travel restrictions meant sellers and buyers were available throughout the winter.
She said properties scheduled to go under the hammer had attracted inspection numbers close to 200 groups.
“We had 360 email inquiries on one property. Insanity,” she said. “What we’re seeing is huge numbers of people through, much [fewer] contracts out and much [fewer] people turning up at auction but those who are there, they are strong.”
She said that pattern would track through spring.