The Chronicle

Madness hits new highs as properties sell at record speeds


AUSTRALIA’S red hot housing market is showing no signs of cooling down as we head into winter, with interest in housing hitting new highs.

A real time report that analyses Aussies’ househunti­ng behaviours has revealed that demand is still outstrippi­ng supply — with views per listing on the up more than 100 per cent since COVID-19 arrived down under.

For months, industry insiders have been attributin­g the booming national housing market to a combinatio­n of influences that has created the perfect property storm – one where sellers are now firmly in the driver’s seat.

“The low cost of debt, combined with an unpreceden­ted level of government support has seen activity surge this year,” said Anne Flaherty, economist and author of the report.

REA Group Insights Housing Market Indicators Report, released this week, examines consumer behaviour by extracting

property market insights from around 12 million users a month, showed views per listing were up 6.1 per cent nationally for March – but a whopping 106.8 per cent yearon-year.

“This is particular­ly evident in Tasmania where the shortage of stock has driven average views per listing higher compared to the other states. However, on a year-on-year basis, Queensland has seen the strongest growth in views per listing, up 127.4 per cent, followed by NSW (116 per cent) and Western Australia (109.5 per cent),” Ms Flaherty said.

According to Ms Flaherty’s findings, listings are expected to pick up over the rest of 2021, which she predicts would alleviate supply constraint­s and could lead to an eventual drop in views per listing.

Alongside sky-high demand, the report revealed that properties are selling at record speeds. The average number of days homes are listed for sale on was at its lowest in every state in March.

Nationally, the average time on market hit 48 days, down from 71 days during the height of COVID-19 confusion in June last year. Buoyed by improved borrowing power, potential house hunters surfing have seemingly increased their buying budgets.

Between March 2020 and March 2021 there had been a significan­t drop in searches for homes priced below the $500,000 mark.

During that period, the $500,000 to $750,000 category was the most popular price filter according to the study, despite searches in this field falling substantia­lly below the proportion seen over the same time last year.

Buyers looking to purchase regional real estate have been searching for more affordable properties, with 57 per cent of all searches in the sub-$750,000 range, compared with only 35.7 per cent across the capital cities.

Homes with price guides sitting above the $1 million mark are also gaining popularity.

“The low cost of debt and subsequent price rises have driven an increase in searches for properties priced in the $1 million-plus range which accounted for 42.3 per cent of the share of searches over the past 12 months, up from 36.2 per cent in the year prior,” Ms Flaherty explained.

“Properties in the $1 million to $1.5 million range saw the largest growth, both in capital cities and regions,” she added.

Investors return, while first-home buyers step back

Although first-home buyer activity was at an all-time high by mid-2020, rising prices and a renewed confidence from investors has meant the tables are turning.

REA’s Insights Report showed that after a brief dip, inquiries on from users identifyin­g as investors has been steadily increasing.

In March, investors accounted for 16.9 per cent of email inquiries, which is well above the 11 per cent share recorded during the market trough in June 2020.

“In contrast, the share of email inquiries from those identifyin­g as first-home buyers has been trending downwards since peaking in June 2020.

“Inquiries from first-home buyers, which fell to 22.1 per cent in March 2021 are expected to continue trending downwards over the remainder of the year due to rising prices and the winding back of government support packages such as HomeBuilde­r and the First home Loan Deposit Scheme,” Ms Flaherty said.

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