Omicron hits the real estate sector

PHOTO: The rising number of Omicron cases is impacting the Australian real estate sector

With more than 600,000 active cases of Covid in Australia, and the Omicron variant surging across the country, the impact on the real estate sector is now becoming more evident.

Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW) Chief Executive Officer, Tim McKibbin noted the Omicron Coronavirus variant was affecting the industry in a variety of ways, with the rental market stalling, a host of legal issues to wade through, and staffing now becoming an issue.

Mr McKibbin said on the market side of things, the New South Wales rental market had stalled, with the REINSW Vacancy Rate Survey results for December 2021 indicating residential rental vacancies have remained low across most of New South Wales.

“The impact of the Omicron variant is being felt everywhere and the residential rental market is not immune,” he said.

“We certainly expected to see a lull in the market leading into the festive season, however REINSW members are reporting that this usual lull was exacerbated in December because people are hesitant about the future as Omicron continues to spread.

“As a result, many are delaying their plans to move, leaving the market in limbo.”

Many have also gone into self-imposed isolation, where they avoid going out due to fear of exposure to the virus

“Consequently, we are not seeing people actively pursue rental properties.”

In the meantime, Mr McKibbin said there were new challenges to navigate, especially for property managers with tenants who contracted Omicron and were in quarantine as their lease expired.