Now, two prominent experts believe it will continue to do so, defying broader predictions of a crash.
There had been fears that prices would collapse under the pressure of strict social distancing measures, dire predictions for unemployment and GDP growth, and rock-bottom consumer confidence.
But the latest data released for April found no material decline across the capital cities, with a modest gain recorded in Sydney, the country’s largest market.
“Although housing values were generally slightly positive over the month, the trend has clearly weakened since mid-to-late March, when social distancing policies were implemented and consumer sentiment started to plummet,” CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless said.
Mr Lawless also pointed out that there had been a sharp drop in market activity and said April had provided the smallest month-on-month movement since last June. His outlook for the coming months isn’t overly optimistic.
“Sydney and Melbourne arguably show a higher risk profile relative to other markets due to their large exposure to overseas migration as a source of housing demand, along with greater exposure to the downturn in foreign students, stretched housing affordability and already low rental yields that are likely to reduce further on the back of rising vacancy rates and lower rents.”
However, property investment expert Richard Sheppard has the opposite view, believing prices in the economically crucial market of Sydney won’t go any lower.
“For those individuals who are in a position to take advantage of current market conditions, now is the time to organise your finance, finalise your strategy as well as your expert team, and start making offers,” Mr Sheppard, chief property investment adviser at InSynergy Property Wealth Advisory, said.
Mr Sheppard has solid form – he correctly picked the last peak and trough of Sydney’s property market.
In the midst of the financial crisis in 2008, he defied conventional outlooks when he tipped that the Sydney market had reached its bottom.
“There are interesting similarities, because when we advised clients to start buying in Sydney just after the GFC, they felt the same way that most people do now,” he said.
And in 2017, when prices were hot, Mr Sheppard picked that Sydney prices had peaked and were about to enter a period of correction.
His hot tip now?
“Buyers who purchase in the next few months can benefit from market prices about three to seven per cent lower than they were just a month ago, depending on the location,” he said.
Pockets of Brisbane and Adelaide have also remained robust during the coronavirus crisis, he said. Canberra’s market is also holding out, he believes.
Mr Sheppard said the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, coupled with optimism about low new cases, offers a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel.
“For those who now know where they stand in terms of job security, there’s a sense of realisation that this situation could present some opportunities as well as the obvious challenges,” he said.
Daniel Walsh is another investment expert who believes property market will be insulated from coronavirus jitters by a range of factors.
“We have been saying throughout the coronavirus crisis that property has a history of resilience given it is a stable asset and these numbers support that point of view,” Mr Walsh, a buyer’s agent and director of Your Property Your Wealth, said.
“In April, dwelling prices firmed in every capital city, apart from Melbourne and Hobart, over April, with regional areas also posting positive results.”
A slump in real estate listings by about 35 per cent has underpinned price growth, he said.
Mr Walsh said more affordable locations as well as cheaper property price points have held their ground better during the economic uncertainty.
“The pandemic has certainly caused most people to reconsider their financial positions and outgoings, with more affordable locations and properties likely to be the beneficiary in the months ahead,” he said.
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