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Pandemic boosts online sales

The Australian real estate industry is accelerating its move to the digital space amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with online agents becoming the big winners, an agency states.

According to the latest figures by national real estate group @realty, sales volumes have increased by 20 per cent in the first half of the calendar year.

@realty agent Leo Edwards believes customer shifts brought on by the pandemic have helped the agency grow.

“The pandemic has created a real shift in the way people buy and sell property. It’s fortunate that @realty was already well equipped with the software required to do this job remotely, so it has just been a matter of refining the process to suit each buyer,” Mr Edwards said.

“There’s a definite flight to quality trend, with people in cities searching for small acreage and coastal lifestyle properties in areas like Phillip Island. Some now have the flexibility of working from home and are reassessing their living situation.”

Meanwhile, agent David Druce believes the recent success proves that, with technology, agents can benefit as geography becomes less of a roadblock for agents’ sales.

“More buyers are becoming receptive to the idea of inspecting a property remotely, which means vendors can expect a much wider pool of purchasers — from interstate and overseas — moving forward,” he said.

“The skill of the agent in conducting video tours and being able to convey the features of the property remotely through the use of technology is crucial. The Hope Island home sold to a London buyer within a week after two very thorough video inspections, which gave them the comfort that the property was what they were looking for.”

@realty CEO James Taylor believes agent recruitment has been better than ever in recent months, with more people seeking access to online tools to market and sell property.

“In recent months, we’ve had a huge number of agents and boutique agencies join our team, because, put simply, we provide affordable access to the software and marketing tools needed to successfully sell property in the current environment,” he said.

“While a lot of traditional agencies have tried to pivot to create these tools to navigate social distancing and other requirements, we already have everything in place, so we are staying well ahead of the curve and leading the real estate industry in this new era.”

The results have been headlined by:

• The $1.084 million sale of a property on Phillip Island to a couple in lockdown in Melbourne. • The $2.125 million sale of a Hope Island home on the Gold Coast to a buyer from London. • A home in Ocean Shores on the New South Wales North Coast being snapped up for $655,000 by a purchaser in Sydney. • A home in Warragul, Victoria, purchased for $350,000 by a couple in Tasmania.

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