Local heavyweights posting record numbers
While we all bear witness to the slow churn of life in a world in recovery and wonder what that life will look like once the COVID-19 covers are lifted, it’s with great pleasure to see some businesses in Docklands thrive during the most trying of times.
Not only has local residential property heavyweight Lucas Real Estate survived the repeated economic battering of a global pandemic, but it has also managed, in the mess of it all, to post the company’s best ever six-month period with respect to property sales.
Through a resilient central city residential market, the lowest interest rates ever recorded fuelling demand and renters taking advantage of record-low prices, Lucas Real Estate director Baden Lucas told Docklands News that it was a fantastic time for local property.
“From a sales point of view, the market has been incredible. My prediction last year was that we would see a soft recovery, I couldn’t have been more wrong,” Mr Lucas said. “In fact, the first six months of this calendar year were the best six months, from a sales point of view, we have ever had. We sold over 120 properties.”
The first thing that has driven these results is value for money. Where can you buy two-bedroom, two-bathroom accommodation for $500,000 to $700,000 without driving an hour in a straight line out of Melbourne.
“The first home buyer market has been incredibly strong. With interest rates as low as they are, and as they have ever been, first home buyers have got easier access to lending than they have ever had. That has driven an enormous amount of demand from a buying point of view.”
According to Mr Lucas, in the week prior to September 13, his team sold 11 properties in Docklands and four outside of postcode 3008.
This was all done without physical open for inspections, with a host of buyers committing to purchasing properties virtually.
Mr Lucas said demand was coming in different forms.
Firstly, a metropolitan exodus to rural Victoria is seeing homeowners sell their properties in the suburbs and heading to the country. With working from home environments providing that opportunity, many are purchasing in Docklands to maintain a city base.
Secondly, he said that first home buyers were being presented with opportunity, while interest rates were below two per cent, to purchase by repaying a mortgage at a lower rate than renting.
While “unprecedented” became the societal idiom of 2020, “pivoting” became the go-to phrase for our business sector, and pivot is what Lucas Real Estate did.
With virtual tours seeing vendors walking through a property via Zoom as agents commentated, or Matterport tours taking 3D scans of a property allowing people to navigate their way through a home on their own, the new world of proxy inspections is one that has been wholeheartedly embraced by Lucas Real Estate.
While the rigours of a global pandemic has provided many challenges, Mr Lucas said he and his team had become stronger and better equipped to service Melbourne’s property market.
“The culture of our business has probably never been stronger than what it is right now. We have the youngest average team age that we have ever had in the 20 years of operating,” Mr Lucas said. “I’m considered old and I’m 35. It is a young team, but an incredibly hard working one.”
“The camaraderie of our team is fantastic; I don’t think it has ever been this strong. Our team is bigger now than what it was before the pandemic, that’s something we take a huge amount of pride with. Not many businesses would have seen a growth during the pandemic.”
“With the changing market conditions, our team has been the first to pivot, the first to move and the first to have those hard conversations with landlords or forthright discussions with vendors to give them a truer picture of what is happening in the market so they can make the right decision, and ultimately get the best possible outcome for them, in whatever those circumstances are.”
According to Mr Lucas, during the past month Lucas was the number one selling agency in Melbourne’s CBD, Southbank and Docklands combined, as far as sales volume was concerned.
Predicting a promising sprint home to the year as we head out of lockdown, he anticipates a steady increase in demand, but baby steps in returning to a pre-pandemic apartment property market.
“The real estate and property market has changed substantially during the course of the pandemic and if I can give anyone any advice at all, is to check in with us and find out how the market has changed,” Mr Lucas said.
“Our values have changed, our buyer profiles have changed, our rentals yields have changed, so if you want to get an understanding of the market, reach out to me or one of our team.” •
For more information: lucasre.com.au