While the year certainly started off bumpy, with large parts of the country affected by terrible bushfires, few of us could have imagined what lay ahead. The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in Australia threw a huge curveball, with Victorians based in and around Melbourne experiencing an extended lockdown.
You may have thought this would lead to a huge downturn in the real estate market, but that hasn’t been the case. We here at Fastrack Conveyancing have been busier than ever, continuing to provide our high standard of services even as the team works from home and Zoom meetings become the new normal.
Co-directors Justine Kitchen and Tammy D’Amore offer 35+ years of expertise between. Our customers have been reassured by our expertise, our ability to roll with the COVID punches, and negotiate the new normal for them.
“I know there’s a lot of doom and gloom out there, but I’m actually feeling really positive about the future prospects of the real estate market and our role in it,” says Justine. “People are still buying, building and selling property. The new files have probably doubled.”
If anything, the crisis has made many of us take stock of what really matters, and to prioritise our goals, Justine suggests. “Working from home has highlighted, for a lot of us, what we really want from our homes. It’s given a lot of us more insight what we actually need in our lives.”
Many workplaces have embraced the benefits of the work-from-home pivot for their employees, who have managed to navigate a better work-life balance minus the commute. With the realisation that many businesses can function perfectly well with little more than a good internet connection, many will be flexible about the need to return to CBD offices full-time.
What that means in practice is that the need to live close to Melbourne city centre won’t be as big a priority going forward. For many home buyers, that opens up the option of looking at buying or building more affordable land further out, even looking beyond the city limits at regional and rural hot spots like Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Gippsland.
Rory Somerville, managing director of Ray White real estate agency, told the Australian Financial Review that the move to more affordable property in well-served regional hubs still close to Melbourne made sense. “COVID-19 showed to many people that they could work remotely, maintain their salary and still commute, but not as often.”
The federal government announced the HomeBuilder grant, designed to help the property market stay strong during lockdown. It offers Australians $25,000 towards building a new home or substantially renovating an existing one.
It’s particularly great news forfirst home buyers because it applies alongside existing benefits like the First Home Owners Grant, stamp duty exemptions or concessions, and the First Home Loan Deposit and First Home Super Saver schemes. You can read more about how Fastrack Conveyancing can help you access them here.
“The HomeBuilder new grant has increased a lot of work for builders, boosting the economy and given more the confidence to get into the real estate market, so it’s been a great incentive all round for everybody,” Justine says.
There’s a lot to negotiate when buying, building or selling a new residential property or vacant land at the best of times, but things are a little more complicated right now.
At Fastrack Conveyancing, we offer a friendly hand, including contract reviews, and can help you negotiate the new normal for a fixed-fee, stress-free experience.
We’ll coordinate talking to your bank, broker, real estate agent and your builder, negotiating extra benefits like HomeBuilder, and addressing the reality of social distant home inspections for you.
“While restrictions are easing, we are inserting conditions to ensure the contract is conditional on a physical inspection of the property by the purchaser, once it is safe to do so,” Justine says. “We’re all in a bit of an unknown space at the moment, but the hope of securing a home gives people something stable to look forward to in the near future, and we can help get there.”
Get in touch with a friendly, knowledgeable Fastrack Conveyancing expert today on
03 9915 5790 or email us here.