Local real estate market holding steady despite COVID-19


Mark Flinn

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Ray white real estate agent, Mark Flinn, comments on how the local market is "hanging in there". Image: Karlie Brady.
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Being such tough times over the last six weeks I am finding it difficult to stop and celebrate the good things that have happened over the last year prior to COVID-19.

Being just awarded for the first time in my career the dual number one agent for sales and revenue for North Queensland by the Ray White group for the 2019 calendar year is a big milestone and a highlight in my 18 year real estate career.

Taking a personal call from Brian White and Dan White to receive the accolade and discuss the market and what is going on was a buzz during a down period.

Considering we are competing against some big offices in cities and places like Townsville, Whitsundays, Mackay and Cairns. I am proud of our town and that this is possible here.

Recently, I have been taking a few calls from opportunistic buyers asking "who is desperate to sell, and who has to get out, I want a bargain".

The reality I tell them, is that the market is hanging in there at the moment, as no one really has to sell due to the fact that the banks are allowing a freeze on their home loans.

The reality is that I have not taken any calls yet from anyone saying that they desperately have to get out, which to me is a promising sign that we are hanging in there.

We have still been selling properties, albeit not as many, but surprisingly to most people I talk to, properties are still being purchased.

The research from Ray White is also indicating that not many vendors are actually placing their properties on the market at the moment, which leads to less stock. This means that buyers are actually not getting that much choice.

We are indicating to buyers that if they see a property they like then they shouldn't wait to act.

We are also still seeing some reasonable sales go through, for example, I have personally put five properties under contract during the lockdown period, which shows that buyers are still buying and that it is possible to still sell property.

Lot 11 the Beach Front Estate, for example, has just sold to a couple that want to move up here when it is possible to cross the borders. This is a significant sale at over $1,000,000 during the lockdown period.

I think we need to stop at the moment and realize that everyone across the world is basically in the same situation and many are a lot worse off than us.

Being quarantined in paradise is a rare privilege and a luxury. It is still surreal driving down Macrossan Street and seeing the normally thriving resorts, shops, restaurants and bars all closed, it is literally like a ghost town.

Rather than reflecting on what could have been, I think we need to try and look for a silver lining out of this.

If we look at the tourism tsunami that is possible when borders and flights open up domestically, and the fact that international travel is unlikely to open or be popular for the next one to two years, I think we will see some real benefits in the near future for our region as a whole.

As far as tropical destinations go in Australia, we have to be in the front-running to see some significant tourism numbers. With this comes employment and turnover and returns for rental properties. This then flows onto positive signs for the real estate sector as well.

When returns improve and more employment opens we will hopefully see prices sustain or improve.

I honestly don't think anyone needs to hit the panic button at the moment. The reality is that the government and the banks have done an amazing job at enabling support for us with six-month mortgage holds on paying back mortgages and JobKeeper and JobSeeker allowing everyone to hang in there for when borders and businesses can open up again.

I look forward to seeing our region prosper again and to getting back some normality again soon.


Mark Flinn is the Licensee and Sales Manager at Ray White Port Douglas

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