Coronavirus real estate: Geelong home values drop in June

Auction activity has picked up since restrictions on live auctions lifted in late May.

GEELONG home values dropped in June as the coronavirus pandemic hit the region’s property market.

Dwelling values fell by 0.7 per cent last month, ending almost a year of consecutive price growth, the latest CoreLogic Home Values Index shows.

But the region has been spared the sharper drop recorded in Melbourne, the hardest hit of the capital cities, where home values fell 1.1 per cent.

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Geelong’s median dwelling value has still increased 6.3 per cent over 12 months to $588,540.

CoreLogic Australian head of research Eliza Owen said after initially weathering the COVID-19 storm, Geelong’s property market was now feeling the impact.

“This is first month of decline for Geelong in almost a year, coming off the back of COVID, after consecutive months of growth,” Ms Owen said.

“I think the high rate of annual growth reflects the fact that COVID has created a bit of disruption that would have been an upswing.”

Barry Plant, Highton agent Kieron Hunter calls one of the first Geelong auctions held in May after restrictions eased.

She said with job losses in Geelong of about 8 per cent between mid-March and May it wasn’t surprising the pandemic had dampened the property market.

But she said the region had several protective factors working in its favour.

“Certainly Geelong has these strong factors like relatively low overseas migration, it’s relatively affordable and a nice lifestyle to attract demand in the long term,” she said.

The property at 13 Powell St, East Geelong, sold under the hammer for $680,000 on Saturday.

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Barry Plant, Highton agent Kieron Hunter said buyer inquiry had bounced back since the height of lockdown and while values may have eased slightly, the fact days on market were holding steady was a positive sign.

“I think buyers are seeing it as an opportunity, they have seen interest rates coming down and they think there is a bargain there,” Mr Hunter said.

He said while auction activity had taken a dive since February, clearance rates and results remained strong.

This renovated house at 47 Elizabeth St, Geelong West is one of more than a dozen properties scheduled to be auctioned across the Geelong region this weekend.

“There were actually more auctions in the capital cities than the same time last year and the clearance rates are almost double,” he said.

“I see more optimism than last year when we had the 2019 federal election and talk of rates going up.”

The Home Values Index shows real estate agent activity is tracking at 6 per cent higher than the same time as last year, with listings ramping up since early May.

Nationally auction markets have averaged a 59.9 per cent clearance rate since mid-May after reaching a record low of 30.2 per throughout April.

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