The global Covid-19 pandemic has done little to damper the Northern Territory housing market with buyer demand increasing, against all odds, leading to a Northern Territory real estate surge. 

Darwin’s market holding strong

Going against market predictions and trends set across the rest of Australia, Darwin real estate continues to hold steady with owner-occupiers and interstate investors continuing to purchase local homes. According to the latest figures by Raine & Horne, Darwin property values have shown no sign of significant falls, while rental vacancy rates also remain stable at four per cent. Raine & Horne’s figures also noted that just three per cent of tenants in Darwin have sought financial hardship rental reductions since the begining of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

What’s driving the market?

Relatively stable values, low interest rates, and properties becoming cheaper to buy than rent,  have helped the maket prevail against the effects of the pandemic. Interstate buyers are still a significant factor in Northern Territory sales and are taking advantage of virtual technologies to conduct property inspections. Although Covid-19 has directly impacted the rental market, with a 50 per cent reduction in new tenancies due to border closures, Darwin’s rental market metrics are steady with vacancy rates of four per cent, the same as earlier in 2020. 

Vendors encouraged to list properties

With the Northern Territory real estate surge, vendors are still encouraged to list their properties for sale, despite the pandemic. Buyers are so eager that multiple offers are being made and contracts are being signed quicker than ever. Elders Leanyer Residential Property consultant, Derek Hart, told RealEstate.com.au that there were not enough listings to meet buyer demand. “Buyers are ready to go, they’ve got finance and their deposit and there’s a lot of first home buyers,” Mr Hart said. “In this pandemic a few buyers have said to me they want to be settled in their own property instead of renting. If things do go into further lockdown at least they’re in their own house.”

Government meeting to discuss emergency legislation

While buyer demand is high, the Northern Territory government will meet on 24 April to discuss Coronavirus emergency legislation, including residential tenancy and landlord laws, to help those financially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The government will be looking at a moratorium on evictions, considering changes to create longer negotiating periods between tenants and landlords, and terms for new leases where there is demonstrated hardship related to the Coronavirus.