The Bellingen Shire Market Report by Nathan Cardow

Welcome to our monthly real estate report for October 2020

 As the weather warms up we are continuing to see the confidence in the Bellingen Property market, with owner-occupiers still leading the charge as they enthusiastically look to either upgrade their family homes or simply secure a first home in our beautiful Shire. So far the negative media reports on the first recession we are experiencing in many decades and the end of job keeper for a lot of businesses seems to have had little effect on the strength and performance of property in the Bellingen Shire. As it stands today it is still definitely a ‘seller’s market’. So if you’re a seller in the fortunate position where you can hold off for when the market is hot, I would think now is a great time to make the move and get your place on the market.

 As many of us may know our little Shire has always been a hot spot for Sydney-siders looking for that relaxed tree change, however, what we have noticed recently is an increase in prospective buyers from our northern neighbours in the Byron Shire. We are currently dealing with multiple potential purchasers from this region, with the main reason for them looking to relocate being their area is just becoming too overcrowded. One thing fortunately for us is we don’t presently have that problem, and as we can see its interesting to note that where our buyers come from does change at certain times.

 As many of the readers of this article or anyone I have dealt with over the 25 or so years I’ve done real estate in the valley may know is that I love a good statistic. It is always good to keep an eye on the actual statistics that come through for our area on a regular basis as property factors are dynamic. It does give us something solid to base a lot of our advice and recommendations on when helping our clients. The statistic in particular that took my eye this month, and one I’m still amazed at is one that I received from one of our friendly representatives at Domain/Fairfax. Their latest data tracking for ‘top searched suburbs in NSW – Mid North Coast’ indicates that property for searches in September 2020 in Bellingen outranked Coffs Harbour. Truly a remarkable statistic for a town of around 4,000 people* when compared to a city of maybe 20 times the size.

 As I may have stated in one of my previous articles for all property sellers, with a ‘hot’ market such as now, it is never more important to ensure your home marketing is both polished and wide-reaching. Miss one buyer, and it really may be the difference in tens of thousands of dollars in the final sale price. With today’s marketing techniques comprising of professional photography, videos, floor plans and social media for example, normally by the time a buyer inspects your home, it is almost their second inspection as opposed to their first. Any agent you engage to sell your home really should be able to properly undertake all aspects of this type of marketing which is aimed at triggering an emotional buyer to inspect your property. We find that the final connection to buy a home normally doesn’t sink in until they inspect your home, so the more qualified buyers you can get into your home the better! Another point to remember is that ‘statistics’ (I couldn’t help dropping that in again) say around 75% or so of buyers are actively looking on the world wide web for properties, and what that tells me is around 25% are not. So unless your agent can demonstrate how they will give your property the best chance to catch that important group of buyers, be it with office window exposure, brochures, signage etc, then my advice would be, start talking to other agents. Just remember you can’t sell a secret, more buyers equals more competition, and with a professional agent a higher-end sale price.

 One thing I see today is the huge advantage consumers now have by being able to quite accurately being able to research a product or service before they have even picked up the phone. Be it looking for a real estate agent or builder, or even something like a new wetsuit, the online reviews do give consumers assurance in what they are paying for. If you’re thinking about selling a property, I find to be an excellent platform where you can quite easily see the past performance and reviews on each agent and agency. All agents I’m sure will tell you how good they are, however past reviews do show just how their previous clients rated their professionalism and service. There is a reason why some agents struggle to make a few sales a year, and others thrive and handle a large proportion of a given property market. Only those agents that are good communicators, effective negotiators, excellent marketers, deal with a lot of buyers and have good policies and procedures in place can guarantee their clients have the best shot at success.

 One other quick thing I thought I would touch on, does experience matter when choosing an agent. I guess for me I would liken it to choosing an apprentice builder to handle the build of my new home or an apprentice financial advisor for financial advice. It never ceases to amaze me how now and then we hear a seller say ‘my friend has just got into real estate so I’ll get them to handle the sale, they have bought and sold a few homes’. For such a hugely important transaction and a lot of money at stake, it is a big risk to take. For myself even being in the industry since the early 1990’s I find the changes have been huge and ongoing, marketing techniques constantly change as well as legislation. If I was selling my property I really would want the advice and guidance of a proven professional in the industry as opposed to someone that may have only been involved in 5 or 10 transactions in their lifetime, or that friend that wants to be an agent and knows the market (we all have one haha). I think whatever you do in life be it renovate, build, choose a doctor/dentist/solicitor, get someone that is a proven experienced professional and knows their stuff. If you don’t, in this day and age with the likes of online reviews, a consumer only has themselves to blame

 Looking forward to our property market (unless something unforeseen happens), it feels to me as though it will be business as usual. With speculation that the RBA may cut the official cash rate to just 0.1% next month, and also the Federal Governments proposal to relax ‘Responsible Lending Obligations’ introduced in 2009 (meaning less scrutiny of your Netflix and Uber Eats Usage!), finance should be obtained easier and quicker for would-be home buyers. Couple that with more people looking to relocate here and very limited land being released for building to ease demand, I predict prices should remain solid for the foreseeable future.

 We have also just been advised that the government’s First Home Loan Deposit Scheme has been extended for new homes. An additional 10,000 guarantees for 2020/21 will be made available for eligible first home buyers, aimed at enabling more first home buyers the opportunity at a new home and also a boost to the construction sector.

 Latest weather forecast models indicate we should be heading into a La Nina weather event with more rains and looking like the end of a dry couple of years, which is a great thing for any of us on land and of course our local farmersand not to mention any would-be sellers taking advantage of a lush green landscape to enhance property photography.

 Stay safe & be thankful for where you live. Should there be any real estate queries or assistance you may require, feel free to give one of our friendly helpful staff a call on 02 6655 1049.