The amount of housing stock effectively in the market could be substantially higher than advertised online due to the surging number of unlisted homes offered for sale, buyer’s agents say.

Melbourne-based buyers gent Cate Bakos said since March, her buying agency had seen the amount of off-market properties jump by about 50 per cent as more vendors refuse to pay thousands of dollars to list online amid a weakening market. “It’s gone through the roof,” she said. “There’s a substantial amount of property being offered for sale that is not listed online. My best guess is it accounts for at least 50 percent of properties. Vendors are reluctant to spend money to list online at the moment because it’s quite expensive and they’re not seeing the value in it due to the restrictions and weaker market”

In Brisbane, buyer’s agent Zoran Solano of Hot Property Buyers Agency said he was also seeing a large jump in off market deals. “I would say good agents will have about 50 per cent of their stock being sold off market at the moment. Usually they only have 20 per cent,” he said.

Sydney based buyer’s agent Lauren Goudy, of Rose & Jones, said the agency had recorded about a 45 percent increase in off-market properties added to its database since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. “Vendors are opting to sell off market because it gives them discretion and anonymity, especially if they are forced to sell,” she said.

Sydney buyer’s agent Amanda Gould, of HIghspec Property, said up to 35 per cent of properties being sold in the area she operates in were not listed on Domain or RealEstate.com.au. “Off market properties have risen right across the city, in the east, north, inner west and the northern beaches, and in all price points,” she said. “A lot of sellers just want a quick sale and they don’t want to pay for marketing and risk having a campaign fail.”

But due to the nature of off market transactions, there are no readily available data to accurately gauge the volume of properties changing hands privately. “From a data perspective, we don’t have any visibility of how many homes are being advertised off market,” said CoreLogic research director Tim Lawless. “However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more vendors opting to sell their property without at traditional advertising campaign. “Homes with al long time on market can attract low ball offers and make it harder to negotiate the best possible price. An off market campaign probably also points to less willingness from vendors to commit to selling their home at a time when selling conditions are tough,” said Mr Lawless.

Click here to view the article written by Nila Sweeney of Australian Financial Review