Locked Down… but not out!

19/8/2021

At the time of writing this we are 6 weeks into our 2021 Greater Sydney lockdown.

So future readers, will we be out of lockdown at the end of August? PLEASE let it be.

As Real Estate Agents in this current lockdown we really have to be grateful for the most part that we can continue working, albeit a lot differently but we can still work and carry out necessary tasks. Considering how many others are faring we must be grateful for that.

It sounds odd to write this but dare I say that, luckily enough, we know what the deal is by this stage. We also know how lockdowns work, their impacts and we know what help is available and to whom.

For Sydney what’s difficult this time around is that it feels like a backward step, having seen the economy here and the general mood improves over the first half of 2021.

In my world, the Property Management one that is, we had experienced a great year so far in terms of reduced vacancy rates, rents starting to stabilising and starting to increase as well. After 2020 I felt that we’d found our feet for sure and I think the sentiment is simply that we’ve all had enough of life with COVID-19 around us.

There is certainly less panic and shock that there was last year so thankfully, we still have tenants looking for properties, and those properties getting snapped up. People are still looking for new surroundings, more workspace to separate work & downtime, and trying new suburbs. As we’re now pretty well versed with our “new normal” we are definitely well placed to be able to give our clients, current & new, some certainty surrounding their investment properties especially when their property is coming onto the Rental Market during the current lockdown. While there may be some added concern because of some restrictions, we can thankfully follow the daily updates of the Real Estate Institute of NSW & Fair Trading to know what we can & can do as things evolve.

So, what’s happening at The Management Agency;

  • Plenty of one-on-one Inspections to show Prospective tenants properties, By Appointment & vacant properties only
  • Routine Inspections are delayed until restrictions ease, unless absolutely necessary, realistically we might need a couple of months to catch up on these
  • Urgent Repairs & Maintenance
  • Maintenance where tenants are agreeable to access & under a strict set of circumstances
  • Working through any requests for assistance via the assistance packages available to tenants & landlords
  • A steady stream of new clients coming on board with The Management Agency through July & at currently at capacity into September

As for our rental market, we’re yet to see any real impacts on rents or vacancy rates but of course, we’re monitoring and making any adjustments that are needed. Vacancy rates & rents are currently holding steady from what’s been a consistent year in lettings.

Aside from that, we are essentially working as per normal. Just like most other Sydney siders, we are trying to minimise our movements as well, with only the essential appointments taking place.

We’re here though, working from home as we always have. We just now have to be out of PJ’s and ready to go should someone want to see a property so that keeps us on our toes!

The new sign-off; “Stay Safe!”

Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one service for his Property Investor clients.

For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

2020 – Wrap it up!

14/12/2020

By this time of any year we’re ready for a fresh start, that takes on a whole new meaning after the year 2020 has been.

It kicked off with Bushfires, Storms & floods then Coronavirus.

We have had new Residential Tenancy Legislation and the ongoing need for many updates to legislation due to COVID-19. The Moratorium on evictions came in along with the Commercial code of conduct and other measures that have been put in place. There has been a lot going on and a lot to keep up with.

On top of this, we’ve seen high Rental Vacancy rates in the Inner Sydney Metro areas, something that I’ve never experienced in my time. A year of negotiating and compromising for all of us.

These last 2 – 3 months I feel like I’m only just starting to get into some kind of a routine when it comes to working in a different rental market. The main shift has been that prospective tenants have been out in force lately so properties are leasing quicker than earlier on in the middle of the year. People are seeing value in moving to larger or simply better properties that offer more in good locations and that’s driving most relocations. The fact that properties are leasing quicker is definitely positive where earlier in the year people were mostly staying put, I feel that’s a sign of consumer confidence coming back after some uncertain times.

I’m also noticing that the Inner suburbs are really starting to open up, foot and vehicle traffic around Surry Hills & Redfern are almost back to pre COVID levels and people are loving the feel of these areas seeming as they’ve picked up a lot of weekdays whilst the CBD itself is noticeably quieter. I suspect these signs of life during the week are driven by the many people that work from home in these areas getting out and about or finding more time to. In any case, that and warming weather is really bringing confidence into the rental market recently.

As we all know, we have a long way to go when awaiting a significant uplift when it comes to the economy. Some suburbs are really feeling it when it comes to demand from University students& international travelers. Areas like Mascot & Kingsford have higher vacancy rates than most and we still have so much available in Furnished Properties.

As for 2020 in Property Management, I’ll be honest, it’s been nightmarish at times. There’s been the need to carry out evictions, debt recovery & sadly the passing of a very long-term tenant of mine. We’ve had wins and losses but overall, I have to say The Management Agency got through unscathed and larger than it was when the year began, significantly. Considering the hardship that many others have experienced in 2020 it’s been tough to complain when we’ve had consistent demand and a workload.

2020. It’s been tough, it’s been super stressful. Let 2021 be nothing but an improvement on what has been.

Next year I’ll be bringing you more Need to know legislation updates, tips & of course New Properties to the market 🙂

Thank you for being along for the ride of us and I wish you all the very best for the New Year ahead!


Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one and end to end service for his Property Investor clients. For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/

The Management Agency will be closed for a much-needed break from 19/12/2020 and returning to work on 5/1/2021, Antonio

COVID-19 & The Sydney Rental Market

18 August 2020

Far out! The media reports are so depressing these last few months…

There have been endless articles and news stories covering the impact that COVID-19 is having and the Sydney rental market in general. Articles covering the drastic drops in rents, record vacancy rates, and how the tables have turned with tenants having the upper hand are a daily news feature.

If you know anything about The Management Agency then you know it’s me, Antonio, from start to finish and that means I’m the one taking enquiries and showing properties and therefore I see what’s happening on the front line.

We are undeniably experiencing higher than normal vacancy rates, rents decreasing and a general negative sentiment when it comes to the Rental market and particularly in the Inner-City Areas that The Management Agency works within.

However! What I see, is continued movement of available rental properties. Properties are still being leased and there are many reasons why tenants are moving around from Property to Property.

The Management Agency continues to monitor the local Rental Market & it’s activity and advises its landlords on the best courses of action in the current market.

So, what’s up?

Let’s get all that negativity out of the way;

Yes, it’s taking longer for Properties to get leased

There’s a huge supply but the level of demand is still typical of the winter months. Why? Because prospective tenants are shopping around, they have choice and most don’t need to move or necessarily want to move but they will to find a better deal. They all get leased, eventually!

Rents are certainly not increasing

They’re either at a standstill or decreasing to meet the current market. If the property (or Properties in some cases) are advertising lower rents to minimise vacancy then that’s pushing everyone else down. Meet the market or sit vacant and wait it out – neither are ideal options but these aren’t exactly ideal times.

Short Term Rentals are saturating the market

Whilst this has slowed down, most of these properties are offered as furnished rentals, creating an influx of furnished properties. The demand for furnished properties has never been typically high, even prior to COVID-19 and therefore some landlords have unfurnished their holiday rentals simply to get their properties leased. Some will stay in the long term Residential Rental Market post-COVID-19, but I believe many will return to short term rentals once the demand for it returns. The influx of these properties has added to the supply levels and therefore impacting overall Vacancy Rates and Rents.

On the plus Side;

There’s demand for specific properties

I’m finding that specific properties are moving a lot faster than others. These are the larger terraces or the smaller terraces and smaller apartments, due to generally being rarer finds so there’s a demand for these niche properties as they are meeting a specific need in the current climate.

For example, a 5-bedroom terrace can lease in a matter of days as it’s economically making sense for prospective tenants to combine households and pool their expenses into one home. Makes sense, right?

As for downsizers, with so many tenants working from home, a couple sharing in a larger property can make their own home by downsizing and achieving their goal of getting out of shared tenancies and at the same time finding good value and a quieter more comfortable home to work from.

As I meet prospective tenants, I’m hearing first hand of people’s circumstances, circumstances that simply make it an opportune time for them to be looking to make a move.

Price them right and they’re leased within a couple of weeks. Any property that’s well cared for, updated and most importantly, competitively priced has been snapped up either at or very close to the asking rent.

Prospective Tenants are on the Hunt

So many people that come through my Open House Inspections are simply looking to move to save money. They’re in no rush to move, they don’t need to move but will if they find the right property and the best possible value.

Considering that we all spend so much more time at home these days, and in the inner city most people are working from home, tenants simply want to be happier at home. Prospective tenants are looking for more space, workspace, and somewhere simply more pleasant to be than where they are now. The way I see it, many are currently in properties that aren’t meeting all of their needs and that’s what they’re on the hunt for.

Current Tenants are doing the right thing

Current tenants who are happy with where they live are staying put and those that haven’t been COVID-19 Impacted are fulfilling their obligations. The tenants who are impacted and are demonstrating this to us, are entering into negotiations with some good and fair outcomes being achieved. These outcomes are ensuring that we can keep tenants in their homes as well as give our landlords some income certainty. At the same time, these agreements ensure we all come out of COVID-19 unscathed, once it is finally, well and truly under control.

Properties are still selling

More than 12 months into trying to sell my property, it sold well into COVID-19. Who wouldn’t want an escape to the Southern Highlands right about now.

We’re seeing the inner-city market still moving with some notable sales results being achieved. By all accounts, a lot more stock is needed as many vendors are holding off until sentiment improves and potential vendors are more confident in achieving a positive outcome.

Rents will increase… eventually

Rents always do increase at some point! Obviously, we don’t know when it could be sooner rather than later. I’m sure we’ll all be watching this space and I’m sure the media will be reporting as much when the time comes. My clients can be assured that I always closely monitor the rental market and will be kept in the know.

Your Property Manager, Me, is on the front line.

Well, this only applies if I’m already your Property Manager. Having a poor negotiator or a Property Manager not doing their due diligence in these times is costly. That aside, I’m the one showing properties, leasing properties, and listening to feedback. I know what’s happening and this way my owners know what’s happening as well. Direct from the frontline. That’s positive!

So What’s next?

If only I had a crystal ball. I can’t say I know for sure but there are some signs of Rental Stock gradually reducing as rentals come into line with the market and then come off the market altogether.

What we really need is for our Students to get back to school, all of us to get back work and get holidaying groups back into holiday accommodation – as soon as it’s safe to do of course.

At any point in time, the market has its ups and downs and we always align to its cycle regardless, we just need some movement back into the workforce and back into the inner-city suburbs.

Until then, we have to keep on keeping on and move with the market. Support our current tenants to the best of our abilities, and try to keep our heads up.

For now, I’m done with the word “unprecedented” and sticking to “perseverance” because that’s what’s needed.


Antonio Mesiti is the Principal & Property Manager at The Management Agency, a local Property Management specialist offering a one on one and end to end service for his Property Investor clients. For more information visit; https://themanagementagency.com.au/about/