I always refer back to the last known crisis when I get asked questions like this one.
Shortly after (and even during) 2008 GFC quite a few suburbs continued to exhibit double digit capital growth despite the general doom and gloom predictions in the media. Those investors who ‘ignored the noise’ and did their own research into the property market managed to secure some of the best property deals of their lifetime and rode the the wave all the way to the east coast peaks of 2017-2018.
I’d say the current situation is similar to GFC with one caveat. GFC impacted all markets equally in a negative way, whereas COVID is ‘focused’ on some industries more than the others. Fore example tourism, hospitality, travel are in decline whilst food delivery, pharma and IT are on the rise. This needs to be taken into account when researching the markets in this environment.
To answer your question it is absolutely beneficial to time the market if you want to maximise your returns. However my definition of the market is probably different to yours. I always research the suburb market and not the markets that are commonly reported in the media. For example 0.4% decline of median values in Sydney means nothing to me, because within that -0.4% decline are hundreds of suburbs, some of which decline by -5% and others that rise by 4% averaging the total to -0.4%. You just need to find suburbs that have a good prognosis compared to the others and time your purchase based on that.