On May 9th, the Prime Minister notified the country that real estate agents can now go back to conducting open homes with up to 10 people at a time. This is an exciting prospect and can potentially lead to some on-site auctions. However, something that Ray White Canberra was very deliberate about when we entered the COVID-19 situation was how we can best manage the health and safety of people we came into contact with, in the general public. In light of this, we are going to take our time and stick to our private inspections and digital auctions a little longer so we can give you the confidence that when you’re dealing with us, we still have your health and safety first and foremost in mind.
Statistically speaking, April was a very proud month for Ray White Canberra, not only did we conduct a particularly high percentage of total auctions in Canberra, but compared to the average clearance rate across the ACT which was just over 45%, we cleared 61.5%. We are extremely proud of the efforts of our agents to give our buyers and our sellers’ comfort to operate in our digital space. We particularly wish to recognise Cameron Crombie. He was the first agent in the ranks when it came to digital auctions right from the first Tuesday where we found out we couldn’t conduct on-site auctions, to Thursday where we had 7 bidders in a room using a totally new set of protocols and digital technology. Cam made everyone feel comfortable and he really embodied everything that we put into our customer-first approach to real estate. Thank you, Cam and everybody else out there who worked with us on our digital options within April.
When it comes to compliance, our Property Management team has risen to the challenge over the last few weeks, constantly changing restrictions as it relates to COVID-19 conditions. The Residential Tenancy Act kept them on their toes and we recognise the fabulous job they have done in regards to keeping in front of a constantly moving feast.
As it stands, we’ve had approximately 30 requests for hardship who have been deeply impacted by the current situation, which of course we’re approaching with a large degree of compassion. However, we do want to thank those 870 tenants who have continued to meet their rental obligations and make sure that their landlords can continue to meet what they’ve committed to.
In response to COVID-19 restrictions on open homes and property inspections, the Ray White Canberra team were able to pivot quickly to adapt to the new ways of viewing properties. Our agents and property managers wore gloves and positioned signage at the front of the property and at the kitchen sink. These signs encourage people not to touch anything and sanitise their hands upon entry and departure.
Tenants and vendors were made aware of the new processes and rules which involved drawing the blinds and switching all lights on, as well as putting away any personal items to limit contact with shared services. We also ensured we pre-booked private inspections online and over the phone in 15-minute intervals so people can view the property one at a time to abide by social distancing rules.
We pride ourselves on our high standards at the best of times, contact our team to find out more about how you can continue to view property during this time.
April was undoubtedly a challenging month for all of us on a number of different levels. We sympathize particularly with those people who had homeschooling duties last month, which was by no means an easy task. We had plenty of great things occur in the real estate sense, read on to learn more about some of our key stats.
It was a really busy April for the sales team with 40 new properties coming to the market and 43 sales. There were $28 million dollars of buying value which is a fantastic result for the Canberra real estate market. Of the 31 auctions conducted, 19 of them were sold prior-to, or on auction day, constituting a 61.3% clearance rate. What this reveals to us is that most of the people that are choosing to sell during COVID-19 can take advantage from buyers having greater motivation than they may otherwise. We believe there are opportunities as a result of COVID-19 restrictions and it is up to buyers, sellers and agents to work together to find out where these opportunities are.
In the month of April, our property management team had 566 enquiries, we processed 214 applications and 17 properties were leased.
During the month of April, the ACT Government released its emergency response tenancy legislation for COVID-19 that allowed us the guidance in the ways we can manage tenants who are suffering hardships. NSW also released their updated tenancy legislation. We are available to help guide any NSW landlords through this, or if you are looking to purchase an investment property over the border, we can assist you in the buying process.
Our Property Managers have been extremely busy with the transfer to virtual inspections and with all of the properties that we’re currently seeking tenants for via private inspections. These changes have made the transition seamless and we still have a vast number of properties being tenanted. There is an increasingly high demand for properties that are two or three-bedroom as tenants are wanting to upsize their space, as a result of working from home.
A quick update for our landlords specifically off the back of the ACT Government clarifying the legislative approach to how we have to deal with tenants during COVID-19. We are underpinning this with our normal approach to customer service and of course, compassion for those experiencing hardship. It is wonderful though, to have some clarity on how to approach these discussions, we have a FAQ sheet available that details how to approach hardship, rent negotiations and the reality around evictions.
Two things are of specific interest; the first being rent increases, these can still apply unless the tenants have contracted COVID-19. Your Property Manager can give you more information. Secondly, is a notice for remedy; these can still be served however, one component is that a COVID-19 affected tenant cannot be evicted.
Some of you may have seen our ‘Love Your Landlord’ campaign in collaboration with our Loan Market partner. As recently shared by Nitish, he managed to save well over $10,000 for his clients purely by renegotiating with their lender(s). For us, it is all about providing a better service to you, our customer, to try to help you manage your costs from what is a difficult time.
Finally, we wish to thank all of our buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants; we have been collecting our customer satisfaction results for several months now and in the last 30 days, we have seen that score increase significantly. We have been putting in a lot of effort to communicate with you regularly and we hope you appreciate and find these updates useful.