This monthly report combines eight key metrics to provide an up-to-date view of the property market and emerging trends. The report analyses consumer behaviour in real time by extracting property market insights from the 12 million Australians who visit realestate.com.au each month.
Key metrics include search activity, email enquiry, views per listing, weekly sales of properties listed for sale on realestate.com.au, days on site of properties sold, filtered searches by price and by bedroom, and developer enquiry.
Australia’s property market shows no signs of slowing in 2021. The low cost of debt combined with an unprecedented level of government support has seen buyer activity surge this year.
Demand is strong with views per listing at record highs and days on site at record lows.
Buoyed by low rates, buyers are searching for more expensive properties than they were a year ago. They are also looking for more space, with enquiries for houses and land surging, while demand for units has softened.
Transactions are trending upwards and will likely keep rising as more listings are brought to market over the remainder of 2021.
In this report
- Total search volume
- Email enquiry by property type
- Email enquiry by enquirer type
- Average views per listing
- Number of properties sold
- Average days on site
- Searches by maximum price
- Searches by minimum number of bedrooms
- Developer enquiries
Buyer search levels down in March, but remain elevated
Buyer search volumes on realestate.com.au have increased by 62.7% compared to 12 months ago, driven in part by the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020.
Growth in ‘Buy’ searches has been particularly strong in the Australian Capital Territory, where demand has been buoyed by growth in public sector employment.
While volumes are up year-on-year, weekly searches have been trending downwards since reaching peak levels at the end of February. The largest weekly decline occurred in the last week of March, in line with the start of the Easter school holidays.
Buyers are looking for more space, with demand for houses and land increasing
Houses accounted for 63.5% of the email enquiries sent to residential agents in March 2021, unchanged from February. Units were likewise relatively steady over the month, accounting for 26.2% of email enquiries.
After peaking in June 2020 with the launch of the HomeBuilder package, the proportion of email enquiries for land declined over the second half of the year. Land enquiry has since stabilised at 10.3%.
Compared to last year demand for houses and land has surged, while demand for units (as a proportion of enquiry) has declined.
Investors are returning, while first-home buyers wind back
After a brief dip, enquiries on realestate.com.au from users who identify as investors are steadily increasing.
In March, investors accounted for 16.9% of email enquiries, well above the 11% share recorded during the trough in June 2020.
In contrast, the share of email enquiries from those identifying as first–home buyers has been trending downwards since peaking in June 2020.
Enquiries from first–home buyers, which fell to 22.1% 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.
Average views per listing reached record highs in March
The past 12 months have seen a rapid rise in average views per listing, with every state hitting record highs in March. Nationally, views per listing were up 6.1% over the month, and 106.8% year-on-year.
This growth can be attributed to several factors, including record low borrowing costs, government support packages for first–home buyers and limited available stock.
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%, followed by New South Wales (116.1%) and Western Australia (109.5%).
Listings are expected to pick up over the remainder of the year, which should help to alleviate supply constraints and may contribute to a decline in views per listing over time.
Sales volumes look set to remain high over 2021
Over the first quarter in 2021, the number of property transactions was up 39.8% compared with the same period in 2020. Sales volumes dipped over the last two weeks of March in line with the seasonal impact of Easter but are expected to pick up again towards the end of April.
Download the REA Insights Housing Market Indicators Report – April 2021
By state, the Northern Territory and Western Australia have seen the largest increases in properties sold when comparing the first 14 weeks of 2021 and 2020, up 68.8% and 48.8% respectively.
There is typically an increase in the number of listings brought to market over the second half of the year. This, combined with strong market demand, is likely to drive further growth in sales activity over the remainder of 2021.
Properties are selling at record speeds
The average number of days properties are listed for sale on realestate.com.au hit record lows in every state in March 2021.
The average days on the realestate.com.au site was 48 in March 2021, down from an average of 71 days in June 2020. Properties sold the fastest in the Australian Capital Territory (25 days), New South Wales (27 days) and Victoria (30 days) over March.
Properties in Western Australia and the Northern Territory typically took the longest time to sell, averaging 71 and 59 days on site respectively. Despite this, Western Australia and Northern Territory have seen the largest falls in average time on site, down 28 and 14 days respectively.
Buyers are searching at a higher price point
Between March 2020 and March 2021 there has been a significant drop in searches to buy sub-$500,000 properties, both in capital cities and regional areas. The $500,000 to $750,000 category remains the most popular price filter, though searches at this level have fallen substantially below the proportion seen over the same time last year.
Buyers looking to purchase in regional areas are searching for more affordable properties, with 57% of all searches in the sub-$750,000 range, compared with just 35.7% in capital cities.
The low cost of debt and subsequent price rises have driven an increase in searches for properties in the $1 million-plus range which accounted for 42.3% of the share of searches over the past 12 months, up from 36.2% in the year prior.
Properties in the $1 million to $1.5 million range saw the largest growth, both in capital cities and the regions.
Three-bedroom properties are more in demand than ever
Three-bedroom dwellings remain the most popular with buyers and have witnessed an increase in the share of searches over the past 12 months.
One-bedroom dwellings, in contrast, have seen a slight decrease in demand, particularly in capital city areas where their share of searches has fallen. The falling preference for one-bedders was less pronounced in regional areas.
Enquiries for new developments continue to surge
The new homes section of realestate.com.au has seen enquiry surge across both apartments and land estates over the 12 months to March 2021. Over this time enquiries for apartment projects increased by 115.1%, while enquiries for land estates were up 262.7%.
While enquiries are growing, the significant change seen over the past 12 months can be partly attributed to the impact of the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions during March 2020.
The launch of the HomeBuilder grant in June 2020 drove a significant shift in the share of enquiries between apartments projects and land estates. Since this time, enquiries for land have overtaken apartments, accounting for 57.7% of all enquiries in March 2021.
Originally published as: REA Insights Housing Market Indicators Report April 2021
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