John McGrath - Virus A Catalyst For Change in 2021
Various small Coronavirus clusters in recent weeks appear to have been well-handled by the state and territory governments, so for now I don’t think buyer enthusiasm will be dampened one bit.
With vaccines already being rolled out in the US and UK and Australia to follow as early as next month, it seems that rock bottom mortgage rates are surpassing virus concerns in the property market at the moment.
Ongoing speculation of a strong rebound in both the economy and property prices in 2021 has buyers very keen to secure their next new home or investment as soon as they can.
Changes to lending rules, which will make it easier to borrow money, are expected soon and this will further propel the market.
There’s also almost 40,000 Australians on a waiting list hoping to return from overseas as soon as possible, which will boost demand for property in the first half of the year and partly make up for the lack of immigration expected in 2021 with the international border remaining closed to non-citizens indefinitely.
Reflecting on 2020, I note what a catalyst for change the pandemic has been in our property market.
As discussed in our McGrath Report 2021, Australians are already demanding more space, safer apartments and building and renovating homes to make them fit for purpose in the new work from home era.
We’re also following in the footsteps of our 1950s forebearers and reverting to the great suburban dream, with a family home on a quarter acre appealing once again.
Due to the virus, Australians are valuing the safety of space more than ever before, with
a Westpac survey showing 77% would now prefer to live in a house.
Apartment living won’t entirely lose its appeal due to affordability and location for some buyers, however developers are already recognising the need to de-risk buildings.
Using biometric scanners that recognise handprints, Dexus has created the first touchless entry building in Australia with the Gateway office tower in Sydney’s Circular Quay.
Premium home builder, McCarthy Homes has incorporated wet rooms, mud rooms and spray rooms into their new Hampton Homes range, allowing people to remove outerwear and sanitise before entering their brand new homes.
The outer suburbs of our major cities, once seen as unfashionable, are becoming more desirable due to their peace and privacy relative to inner city areas.
Work-from-homers (WFHers) no longer need to live close to the office, so they are free to relocate to more affordable suburbs with good local amenities and transport links for occasional trips to the CBD.
The final pandemic home pivot will be more multigenerational living, with many young people leaving the private rental market in 2020 and returning to the family nest.
Multigenerational families need bigger houses, which could further fuel a move to the more
affordable outer suburbs or delay parents’ plans to downsize. It might also inspire renovations and extensions such as separate wings, granny flats and self-contained areas.
This once-in-a-century event has inspired a recalibration of personal values and lifestyle. From this, a new way of living is emerging, one that reminds us that the value of our homes does not begin with monetary worth but rather the crucial security and comfort they provide.
I wish you all the best with your property goals in 2021. To read more about the national trends inspired by the virus occurring across Australia today, download the McGrath Report 2021 here.
The views expressed in this article are an opinion only and readers should rely on their independent advice in relation to such matters.
This article originally appeared in The Real Estate Conversation (January 18, 2021)
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