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An audit on life: Isolation’s impact on property

03 June 2020 Grace Ormsby
Byron Bay

Isolation has given many Australians an opportunity to pause and reflect on what they want from their lives and their assets, and it’s already having a material impact on real estate.

The most recent episode of Phil Tarrant and Tom Panos’ What’s Making Headlines saw the pair reflect on the extra time many people have found as society as a whole has slowed down.

“I think it’s fast-forwarded what people were thinking of doing five years or seven years down the track, whether they’re going to relocate, whether they’re going to go and do a sea change [or] tree change,” Mr Panos said.

“I know that that’s happening.”

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The real estate trainer said he has had real estate agents from more regional locations — such as Coffs Harbour, Byron Bay and Tasmania — telling him that they have recently had inquiries from city dwellers at “levels they haven’t had previously”.

“What it’s done is it’s maybe moved forward plans people have had in the back of their head.”

Chiming in, Mr Tarrant said “it’s been a good chance for everyone to reflect and analyse, because when you’re really, really busy, you don’t get much chance to get up above it all and be detached from your day-to-day decision-making”.

“COVID’s given a lot of people that opportunity,” the Momentum Media director acknowledged, before expressing the belief that there are going to be a lot of lifestyle changes that arise out of the pandemic.

“People [are] actually understanding and appreciating what’s important to them.”

He said the pandemic has shown, for a lot of people, that remote working is possible, adding: “You don’t necessarily need to be tethered to your office. If you have an employer who is flexible and allowing you to do that, people can have the best of both worlds.

“Do you know what? It’d be great to live in a regional location or on a beach somewhere and not have to commute to the office each day.”

Mr Tarrant stated that it’s a phenomenon being seen in the real estate world already.

“And the good thing is that you’re getting some of the talent out of the cities into the regions. That’s great for real estate.”

It’s a theme he expects to continue over the next six months.

“Regional markets are going to become a lot more attractive for city slickers,” he predicted.

“That’s going to influence and shape supply and demand in those particular markets, how agents operate within them and how you can be an effective buyer in those markets.”

According to Mr Tarrant, it will lead to increased competitiveness in many of those areas.

“Because where there is demand, what typically happens? Prices go up. It’s going to be a fine balance between securing an asset in one of these locations, [to] potentially live in or as an extension of your family home in the city, and real estate agents doing what they need to do to not only attract that business but win it.”

And even for those who may not be looking for a tree change or sea change, the extra time at home is still changing their perception on property, according to Mr Panos.

“People are actually assessing their own home — it might be in the same location — but when you live in a home and you’ve actually been sitting in it for six to eight weeks, you then begin to realise it would be useful having an extra bedroom. It would be useful to have had a pool or a spa in this place. Oh, it would be useful to actually create that room into a Zoom studio because I realise I’m going to be doing more Zoom work there,” he said.

“I think people are going to go off and do a bit of renovating, but I also think that there’s going to be a bit of upgrading.

“People are going to value their property more than they did prior to COVID-19.”

An audit on life: Isolation’s impact on property
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