CAN’T GO LOWER: LJ Hooker have warned their agencies of a 20 per cent downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: File
CAN’T GO LOWER: LJ Hooker have warned their agencies of a 20 per cent downturn during the COVID-19 pandemic. Picture: File Matt Taylor

LJ Hooker warns agencies of 20% property downturn

DESPITE LJ Hooker Australia advising their agencies to prepare for a 20 per cent downturn this year, Gayndah's office believes there are still positive signs of growth.

Businesses across Australia have been feeling the COVID-19 squeeze following the introduction of social distancing restrictions.

Principal real estate agent for LJ Hooker Gayndah Peter Mattson has said they've had to make some tough calls to ensure their businesses' survival.

"We've stood down two staff due to the sales sides of the business," Mr Mattson said.

"We've made decision to basically shutdown, or downsize so that in six months time, or whenever this finishes, we're still around."

Mr Mattson said he has seen a noticeable drop in inquiries by buyers, but it's not all doom and gloom for the North Burnett agency.

"We're currently operating 99 per cent capacity with rentals at the moment," he said.

"Our latest housing sale was in Mt Perry just last week, where we've been confirming the purchase through Facebook video calling."

The property in Mt Perry is now in the process of being sold for $215,000, a price Mr Mattson believes is the standard for our region.

Two more properties were sold in Eidsvold in March, just prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Most of ours are mid to low twos, occasionally we'll have one that is three and a half," Mr Mattson said.

"The good story out here is we aren't seeing the high rent pressures you might see in cities."

According to Mr Mattson, the low rental prices for regional housing means that landlords aren't encountering any repayment issues.

"You're paying anywhere between $200-$250 per week, and if they're on Centrelink it's manageable," he said.

"We don't have any issues with non payers of rent because of coronavirus, to put it simply."

Like many businesses in the region, LH Hooker have adjusted their business to continue operating.

For one, they've been ahead of the curve in virtual housing inspections.

"We've been doing that for a while now, and we've been working with drones to create 360 tours," he said.

"These video tours allow them to walk through the house, and pan around to see each room."

They've also been able to hold their prices, even during these uncertain economic times.

"Our properties can't get any lower in price, we've been able to hold our prices for 18 months," Mr Mattson said.

"We don't tell our sellers to reduce their selling prices, we provide the data to them where they can make an educated decision.

"If they want to drop them, we can, but I just can't see them getting lower at the moment."

Mr Mattson has now taken up a majority of the real estate work for his office, but he is confident the agency will be able to come out on the other side.

"It's about remaining cash flow positive, and we've been working harder than we've worked before."


WATCH: Violent street brawl in Kingaroy captured on camera

Premium Content WATCH: Violent street brawl in Kingaroy captured on camera

MULTIPLE people rushed to hospital and arrested after a vicious brawl broke out on...

As drug crime soars, here's what Kingaroy cops are doing

Premium Content As drug crime soars, here's what Kingaroy cops are doing

In the past two years drug offence statistics have more than doubled in Kingaroy...