Property in Queensland continues to go from strength to strength.
2021 was a year to remember – for the first time on record, it facilitated the most sale settlements of any jurisdiction in 2021 with 232,824, up 41% from 2020 and up 59% from 2019.
And while the market may have eased slightly from the soaring highs in recent months, the Sunshine State is still proving to be popular among homebuyers nationwide.
But what’s it like to buy property in Queensland in 2022?
Digital settlements combating ongoing challenges
The answer is that it’s digital and it’s easy.
As Empire Legal’s George Sourris and Abi Wright explain, amidst more than two years of significant hurdles, flexibility delivered by online processes are proving paramount for their business and clients.
“The overwhelming majority of our settlements these days take place on PEXA. Paper settlements are becoming much less common and PEXA is by far the safest option to ensure an on-time settlement, especially given the COVID-19 lockdowns and more recently the floods.
“Where settlement can take place on PEXA, any closure of physical settlement locations or delays with critical documents arriving and relying on Australia Post becomes irrelevant. We always suggest it as the safest, fastest and most secure option for our clients, with the least margin for error.”
This sentiment is echoed by Cara Haynes, Broker, Loan Market.
“In Queensland, most of our settlements are 30 days which are some of the fastest in the country. Given the snap lock downs over the past 2 years and the floods, paper settlements are no longer practical.
“With Australia Post having blown out service levels, we find even when we are down to the wire, we can still get the file booked in and settled on time.”
Getting the keys on time
Moving into a new home is an exciting milestone for many.
Handing over the keys is always a special moment for Chris Ransley from Ray White – North Stradbroke Island – but property settlements are inherently complex and things can go wrong on the big day.
The entrenched shift to digital has seen this risk mitigated and buyers able to revel in the joy.
“As agents we have traditionally been out of the loop when settlement day comes around, but PEXA has streamlined the process dramatically. Now we get an email the minute settlement has occurred so that we can release keys to the buyers and congratulate the vendors and buyers in a timely manner.”
With practitioners, brokers and agents alike increasingly working together to drive Queensland’s digital property reform, in line with New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia, the Empire Legal team feel the change is inevitable.
“There is no doubt that electronic settlements are the future for the digital property ecosystem. We saw the accounting profession go digital with Xero and all of its 3PP partners, and we fully believe the same transformation is well and truly on the way in our sector.
“It is not a matter of “if” all the parties will be collaborating digitally, but “when”. We already see the vast majority of transactions occurring this way – the sooner bankers, brokers and lawyers jump onboard, the better for all professionals, and their clients.”