Westpac senior economist Matt Hassan says that, while the property sector will probably endure a downturn, it is unlikely to be a “catastrophic drop” that some have forecast.

Hassan says some think the banning of auctions will be a calamity for real estate markets, but he points out that only a small proportion of sales occur via auction – about 10% of total sales across the nation.

Hassan says the effect on prices from the virus is likely “to come quite slowly.”

He says: “I think it is plausible… that we will just see people switching to online and private sales channel and we still see some properties ticking over.”

Hassan’s comments tend to support the view from La Trobe Financial, which says the virus crisis will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the property market, but it expects a “strong and sharp” rebound for the housing market – and also for employment conditions and the greater economy over the coming months, as the country overcomes the health crisis.

Chief investment officer of La Trobe Financial Chris Andrews says that the housing market will ultimately experience a “sharp rebound” once the lockdown measures are relaxed.

He says that history has proven the immense resilience of the Australian housing market, particularly following the global financial crisis in 2008 and the downturn in the major city markets from 2017–2019.

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