Three ways COVID-19 can help women get into the property market

By Scott Aggett , Expert Property Negotiator, Hello Haus

COVID-19’s impact on the property market has yet to play out in full.

In truth, we haven’t lived through something like this before.

But what we do know, as with any recess in the market, there are always green shoots of optimism for those with secure employment, many of whom are looking at options for their next property move.

Many of these people are women.

In 2019, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 60 percent of Australian women own their home either debt-free or with a mortgage, compared to 56 percent of men.

You’d expect similar market share for women, even in 2020.

Sure, COVID threw some spanners in the works but if you are a female with a stable job, you still have options when it comes to buying property.

There are strong advantages to buying, trading up or adding to your portfolio now - especially in this record low interest rate environment.

1. Buy your first home or upgrade to one that’s in a better location.

Are you looking at getting into the property market? Now is the time to consider buying a home that may have previously been out of reach.

For first time buyers, in many cases it’s cheaper to own than it is to continue paying rent. Why pay off someone else’s mortgage when you could be paying off your own?

Those who already live in their own property might look at upgrading to have more space, a higher quality home or to be in a better location.

One of the things Hello Haus helps with is by using our expert negotiation skills to put you into a more desirable home at a lower than expected cost. We can make your dreams of a 2 bedroom house extend to a 3 bedroom house. Or we could help you secure a home positioned within an exclusive school zone or close to the beach, a transport hub or village. What you thought would trade beyond your means can become a possibility with our negotiation skills.

An unforeseen benefit of COVID is that over the next year, we will continue to work from home. As working from home becomes the norm, it removes the need to live in crowded cities. Australians are already starting to make a sea or tree change to well-connected regional areas in pursuit of more space, cleaner air and a better lifestyle.

If you are considering a relocation, now is a good time to look around. Your high value inner city home would equate to a substantial regional property in most areas. An inner city Melbourne apartment or small home could be switched for a beautiful property in the Mornington Peninsula, for example, or an inner Sydney abode could open up real possibility to own a Newcastle or Gold Coast address.

2 . Downsize to something smaller or a better fit for the future.

Your family style home is in-demand and now is the time to take advantage of younger buyers and families looking to work from home and have more space.

Growing families are often looking for additional rooms, larger spaces and are always focused on school zones, transport links, privacy and general amenities.

The rental market is softening due to the rise in unemployment, meaning that inner city addresses with smaller properties will soon be likely hitting the market. Some of these properties could have previously been outside your budget and will better suit your needs.

3. Enter the investment property market.

Now is also a good time to think about your long term investment plan – buying a property and tenanting it with someone else.

The key here is to really think longer term, with the goal of 10 years+ investment and ownership. Median prices in Australia have grown over 300% for units and 400% for houses over the past 25 years - even through five major economic hits. If you go in with a plan to maintain for the next ten years plus, you can expect to see strong growth over time.

With a likely increase of second hand properties hitting the market in the next 12-18 months - think Airbnb rentals and secondary or holiday homes - some of these properties will suit traditional longer term investment strategies.

Our advice? Avoid cookie cutter new build apartments often heavily over supplied in certain suburbs which will struggle to see growth.

Don’t overlook properties that you can add value to over time and re-mortgage to fund further buying opportunities. It could be a simple internal renovation, knock-down, villa site or the ability to add an extra revenue stream such as a granny flat.

While we can’t truly predict what is going to happen in the next 18 months, what we have consistently seen is history repeating where dips in the market will always yield opportunities for those who can take them. Scott Aggett is passionate about helping women independently secure properties. He is the Founder of Hello Haus, saving owners thousands of dollars, helping remove the stress and risks of buying property and handling all negotiations on your behalf.

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