So here is where we are at. As I mentioned last week the residential property sales market is moving along quite nicely. Demand is there and our team are achieving quality value for vendors. The area of the market that has taken a real hit is the rental market. It is very tough and I’m not sure what, or when, it might turn it around. There is real work to do there.
Our team have analysed the numbers and it was the week in late March when QANTAS announced they were standing down many their employees. That was the week that COVID got real for many people.
For our Leasing team the phones are ringing but the calls are different. Enquiries for available properties dropped significantly almost overnight. From our busiest days earlier in the year when our team fielded over 500 rental enquiries there were days in late March when we took only 50.
So where have all the people gone? Quite literally they haven’t gone anywhere. And that’s both the good and the bad news.
Morton has over 3500 properties under management across all areas of Sydney. Our aim is to minimise the costly vacancy rate for those properties and right now it seems most of our tenants want to stay right where they are. If they can.
Obviously, the economics of isolation, business closures and employees stand-downs are having an impact. Our team are fielding significant numbers of calls from proactive tenants seeking support because of financial hardship. That’s important and in those circumstances our team are working hard to help tenants and landlords navigate appropriate options.
The primary aim is to find a solution that enables the tenant to remain in the property. That’s ideally the best option for both the tenant and the landlord and engaging in honest discussions with tenants and landlords is the best way to reach a positive outcome. The reality and the risk are that with people unable and reluctant to move during this crisis that a vacant property may remain vacant and deliver the landlord an exponential financial burden.
But there are equally, if not more, cases where it has simply gone very quiet. Where direct debit payments have bounced, and the phone is not ringing. And that’s tough. I’m concerned at the numbers of people facing financial hardship who simply do not know what to do and therefore are choosing not doing anything.
It is scary for those people. It’s tough for the landlords and it presents a very challenging situation for our team of property managers. We want to minimise distress and disruption. We aim to minimise vacancies for our landlords. It is always a delicate balance but never more than now.
There is real work to do and I am very proud of the focus being applied by the Morton team to achieve the right outcomes for our clients. We have our Sales team working closely with our Property Managers to ensure clients have all the information they need to make the right financial decision for their circumstances. We can help so give us a call.