Amy Connell, Country Values Real Estate
As we have seen, COVID-19 has prompted change in almost every walk of life. Many would say it was a change we needed to have, albeit a devastating one to so many.
In the real estate sector we have found a surprising amount of interest in moving to the region to simply have more space. Many want to have more control over the quality of food and water they consume, wanting to grow their own as we have experienced a shift in people making conscious decisions on food origins. Buyers are looking to minimise debt and consumerism, have a ‘less global, more local’ approach to life; recognising the importance of knowing your community and being active within it.
From my desk in the office at Bindoon people watching has now become an everyday sport with many people gathering around the window at Country Values Real Estate to look for properties. It really can be quite distracting! There is an influx of visitors to frequenting the Bakehaus, Locavore Store, butcher or trying out the new highway and appreciating just getting out of the city. It is awesome to see the town thriving with a real buzz about it. What’s even better is that most Wheatbelt towns are also benefitting from visitors, especially those that have already invested in tourism.
Whilst the sales side of the industry is buoyant, there is real concern in the rental sector of not enough homes to go around. We are seeing low rental stock everywhere because of the influx of people moving back to the state due to COVID-19 and investors that are hesitant to invest. But why? When everything appears to be booming? The major problem is the Residential Tenancies Act COVID-19 Response Act.
Word on the street is they are worried about returning to the market due to the limitations this Act puts on them, such as not being able to evict bad tenants and not allowing price increases. What I find interesting is only 1-2% of tenants have suffered financially due to the precautions we undertook to make sure we did not experience a full-on pandemic. Other than these temporary laws, it is a great time to invest with rental prices quite likely to increase soon due to the demand.
Hopefully, the recently extended emergency rental laws will be overturned. REIWA is extremely disappointed with the government’s decision to extend to the 28 March 2021 with President Damian Collins claiming it makes no economic sense. “It appears that the government has used the pandemic as an opportunity to introduce rent control and meddle in the free market,” he said. “We already have a shortage of rental stock and reducing supply further by dissuading landlords will ultimately mean tenants will find it even harder to get a property.’”
Let’s hope it does not get to the point of unavailability of homes as a basic human need, resulting in an increase in homelessness before this Response Act is abolished.
REIWA has launched a campaign called “A Fair Go for Landlords During COVID-19”. Find out how to join and have your voice heard at https://reiwa.com.au/a-fair-go-for-landlords-during-covid-19.