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Covid-19 lockdown restrictions haven’t slammed the door shut on property transactions as real estate agents rely on virtual auctions to keep the Christchurch market ticking over.
Bayleys shifted all seven lots they put under the hammer today, as $5.38 million worth of property from Sumner to Mairehau to Hawarden to Lincoln changed hands from the lounge room of auctioneer Ben Deans.
The company has another 14 properties on Thursday’s auction as interest remains high.
In each case the vast majority of bidders had pre-inspected the properties, though some potential owners have registered an interest after scrutinising supplied material.
“Most of them have been viewed, people want to do their own personal due diligence, but we are in the modern world, there’s a lot of deep information available through property files,” Bayleys Canterbury general manager of sales Rachel Dovey said.
Should alert level 4 restrictions continue, Dovey expected more bidders to join the clamour for properties without making a personal inspection.
“It will get to that, we’re seeing a lot of activity and the supply is moderate. We’re seeing movement from outside the area, people from Auckland and returnees still looking at Canterbury,” she said.
Dovey said restrictions impacted on new listings as it was “challenging to get in front of people to do the paperwork”.
She was looking forward to an alert level downgrade so viewings - in a regulated manner - were possible.
“We can operate in level 3 in a very considered way. It is restrictive but it is manageable,” she said.
“There was good activity in the last lost lockdown when we can get some level of freedom.”
Selwyn District continues to be sought after location, with Brendan Shefford and Mandie Ashwell combining to sell a five-bedroom property in West Melton for $1.225 million last Thursday.
“We created a google hangout and we had the auctioneer in his living room,” Shefford said.
One of the bidders had not seen the property with their own eyes, relying on floor plans and a video.
Min Sarginson Real Estate in Lyttelton is gearing up to hold its first online auction on Saturday - a four-bedroom home in Diamond Harbour - via Zoom.
Tim Dunningham said the company had also completed remote appraisals and inquiries were still steady a week into the lockdown.
"There are new listings bubbling away but we’ve had to put those on hold because (in level 4) we can't get the photographer out to the homes."
Simon Standeven from Ray White Ferrymead added they had dealt with plenty of inquiries from people consigned to their ‘bubble’.
“We’ve had lots of engagement with people at home with lots of time (on their hands)," he said.
If the lockdown was maintained, Standeven was confident sale processes would continue.
"Our buyers are usually now quite comfortable with contactless transactions," he said.
The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand said the property market remained bullish in spite of the lockdown.
“We are seeing a sense of confidence remain in the market, with many people optimistic and wanting to maintain a sense of normality,” REINZ chief executive Jen Baird said.
“During the 2020 lockdown real estate professionals put in place new ways of working that enabled them to continue to serve their customers as alert levels change. This has resulted in a quick move to well-tested ways of working, and, anecdotally, more activity when compared to the alert level 4 lockdowns of 2020.
“The technology we have available is making it easier to purchase a home remotely, and this is something we are seeing occur this lockdown" Baird said.
“Agents now have the tools to assist purchasers to buy with confidence, such as 3D virtual tours and great photography to provide buyers with sufficient viewing capability of a property.”