Only genuine buyers are on the hunt for properties in Taree.
That's according to LJ Hooker Taree licensee and managing director Amanda Tate, who said the branch noticed a decline in property inquiries in recent months as those interested in 'just having a look' have dropped off.
"It's real estate heaven when you don't have people who are just shopping around," Ms Tate said.
"Everyone we spoke to was in buying mode and bought something.
"A savvy buyer would buy now and hold because you're going to get capital growth for whatever you buy."
She said there is plenty of buyers in the mix while first home buyers were 'back with a vengeance'.
However, locals are nervous about putting their properties on the market.
"It's a really good time to sell, we are in a sellers market and we've got plenty of buyers around," Ms Tate assured.
"You're going to get a premium price for your property."
She said the banks are unfortunately playing a part in a slower than expected sign off.
"We're noticing the banks are slowing down and finance approval is taking six to eight weeks which is absolutely ridiculous," Ms Tate said.
"We've got all these sales pending for finance so if you're looking for a home make sure you get pre-approval so you're ready because otherwise you might miss out."
We're noticing the banks are slowing down and finance approval is taking six to eight weeks which is absolutely ridiculous.Amanda Tate
Investors remain active due to the low interest rate.
From a business standpoint, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the Taree branch to find new ways to conduct house inspections.
"When the lockdown occurred we weren't required to close but I did have some people work from home who didn't need to be in the office," Ms Tate added.
"We found people were still looking for properties and we had a lot of listings.
"We had a big listing month in February and March so we had a good supply of homes.
"It did go quiet for about three weeks but as soon as people started to go back to work, things started kicking along again."
She can feel the rumblings of a housing boom in the near future.
"The booms never last for long but it'll be interesting to see how far our prices go," Ms Tate said.
"Our sale prices and rents are still very affordable and I think we've got a lot of room for capital growth but in the previous mini booms we've had, it's been a steady growth which means when it stops the fall is soft."
She said there's been a lot of inquiries from commercial developers keen to invest in the area.
"With the subdivisions in with council at the moment, it's going to bring a new type of people to the area," Ms Tate explained.
Consumer confidence is also high.
"People are confident with buying, I don't think anyone is thinking the pricing will go down," Ms Tate said.
She rubbished national media speculation that the coronavirus crisis would cause a 30 per cent drop in house prices.
"There was no evidence to suggest that," Ms Tate said.
"We've got buyers that are nervous thinking they're going to have to pay more if they don't get in and buy now."
In the second part of this story, Ms Tate will discuss metropolitan versus rural living and the current demand for rentals.
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