the floods could impact the real estate market for years

Worrisome global events were cited in the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to keep rates unchanged last week and the flooding adds further uncertainty to the (housing market) outlook.

The catastrophic toll of the floods will necessarily affect the residential market in multiple ways, some of them unforeseen, and this will be felt for many months, if not years.

The rental market in particular can be expected to come under even more strain. Large-scale cleaning will have to take place and many damaged houses will have to be repaired.

But rental vacancy is already extremely tight, and with more people looking for rental accommodation while this work is being carried out, options for those whose homes have been affected are slim.

Landlords, who are often the recipients of housing policy decisions, play an extremely important role in the provision of rental accommodation. Policies that discourage people from investing in real estate need to be rethought because the rental crisis will get worse.

These events are taking place at a time when house price growth appears to have leveled off.

However, demand remains strong. Nationally, auction volumes over the weekend nearly doubled compared to the corresponding week last year, yet the comparison of clearance rates shows only a slight decrease.

Commentators are tempted to equate normalization with something more sinister. However, as agents experience it in the field, price stability is a consequence of the leveling of the balance of power between buyers and sellers.

Buyers recognize this and enjoy their moment. Buying agents are doing what they can to entice sellers to sharpen their pencils. This is the type of market where sales agents really earn their fees.

It’s also a time when the value of our investment in our homes is magnified, as many people across the state grapple with devastating losses.