Port Macquarie couple Erin Reardon and James Firman are ecstatic after they recently bought their first home at Innes Lake.
The couple started their search in January but found the market to be extremely competitive, with some houses quick to be placed under offer on the same day as an open house.
In June when open houses resumed after the shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Erin and James found the property they'd been looking for.
After that first viewing it took just 10 days for them to settle on their new property.
Erin said historically low interest rates offered by the banks at this time was key to helping them become first home buyers.
Erin and James were attracted to the Innes Lake house because it didn't require any renovations to bring it up to standard, was at the right price and close to the shops and cycle tracks.
The friendly neighbourhood and family atmosphere also enticed them to move to the area.
Impact of flexible working arrangements
Laing+Simmons Port Macquarie principal/licensee Chris Koch said while COVID-19 impacted the number of buyers in April and May, the market picked up again in June.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic for some employees has allowed them to become more flexible with working from home arrangements.
One of Mr Koch's clients works with Essential Energy and is based at Dubbo, The man is moving back to Port Macquarie, as he's received feedback the current working from home situation is still producing results.
Mr Koch said a lot of first home buyers have been able to enter the market, due to low interest rates on offer by the banks.
While there have been reports of a decline of house prices due to the pandemic's economic impact, demand for property in Port Macquarie remains strong.
A lot of the properties which hug the coastline, Mr Koch said are holding their value because they exist in the areas which are highly sought after.
Surprised by demand
Director of HEM Property David Evans said in June the agency experienced its second biggest month for sales in three and a half years.
He said there's high demand for all properties, which can range in price from $290,000 for an apartment to $1.4 million for a high end unit.
Mr Evans said even though there hasn't been a massive supply of houses on the market, the buyer demand for properties has remained strong.
Given the global COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Evans said people are perhaps reassessing how they want to live their lives in Australia.
He said the current trend shows people are confident in the property market within the Port Macquarie-Hastings.
Mr Evans said even if Australia does fall into a recession the impact on the local market won't be extreme.
"Even in a bad market Port Macquarie fares quite well," he said.
"Everything is about supply and demand."
Impact of government grants
John McNeil from Pycon Homes said they've seen an increased demand for blocks of land since the Morrison Government announced its HomeBuilder grant.
The grant provides eligible owner-occupiers (including first home buyers) with a grant of $25,000 to build a new home or substantially renovate an existing home.
Mr McNeil said since the announcement all the blocks of land at Sovereign Hills have been sold except for one.
He expects the remaining block of land will sell within the next week.
Locations such as the Rainbow Beach Estate and inland at Wauchope are also proving to be in high demand.