Spring has well and truly kicked into gear as the finish line to reopening moves closer.

As the weather warms and lockdowns ease, more vendors are bringing their properties to market. Increased listings combined with strong buyer demand have driven an increase the number of properties selling over September.

This trend is predicted to continue over October, particularly in Melbourne where sales will be boosted by pent-up supply.

Activity from investors has continued to rise. In August, new loans to investors reached the highest level seen since 2015, close to double that seen just 12 months ago.

In October, APRA announced that banks will have to increase their minimum interest rate buffer from 2.5% to 3%, effectively reducing maximum borrowing capacity by around 5%. Given the majority (over 90%) of buyers don’t borrow their maximum amount, this change is unlikely to have a substantial impact.

Search activity on realestate.com.au suggests buyer demand will remain strong through to the end of the year. Average views per listing remain near record highs, properties are selling at close to record speeds, and the number of buy searches remains elevated.

Sales volumes have picked up over recent weeks as the Spring selling season kicks into gear. Last week was the second highest week for sales so far this year, and volumes remain well above historic levels.

Year-to-date, preliminary weekly sales volumes are sitting 48% higher compared to the same time last year, and 61% above those recorded in 2019.

A factor supporting sales over recent weeks, and likewise over the coming months, is the winding down of restrictions in Australia’s two largest markets – Sydney and Melbourne.

How property is faring around the country

Let’s look at how market conditions are faring throughout the states and territories.


New South Wales 

The Greater Sydney market has been the strongest performing capital city for price growth over the past 12 months. As New South Wales celebrates new freedoms, the property market likewise will benefit. While physical inspections were allowed throughout lockdown, fewer restrictions around open homes and auctions will support vendor confidence, and a strong finish to the year is expected.

Sales volumes

The number of properties selling in New South Wales has risen over recent weeks as lockdown restrictions wind down. Last week saw the highest number of sales in New South Wales since before Easter and was the third strongest week so far this year.

Eased restrictions should support increased listings over the coming months which should flow through to higher sales. Year to date, preliminary weekly sales volumes are up 39% compared to 2020, and 58% compared to 2019.

Days on site

The median time it took for a property to sell in New South Wales returned to a record low of 27 days in September. This was down from 30 days in August and, along with the Australian Capital Territory, was the fastest state or territory in which to sell a property.

The fastest selling suburbs tended to be those in scenic outer areas, the top three being Cambridge Gardens, Dean Park, and Eschol Park.

Views per listing

New South Wales recorded the largest jump in views per ‘for sale’ listing of any state or territory in September, at 16.8%. This resulted in a new peak for views, at 2,421, which was driven by growth in both Greater Sydney and Regional New South Wales.

Views per listing were highest in Sydney’s Northern Beaches region, with properties for sale achieving more than double the state level on average.


Victoria

Victoria’s property market was significantly impacted by the ban on physical inspections which ended on September 28. The market has already seen a strong bounce back since restrictions were eased, with the market likely to be further buoyed as the vaccine targets for reopening are met.

Sales volumes

Weekly preliminary sales volumes have seen a significant recovery over recent weeks due to the resumption of physical property inspections at the end of September. The ban on inspections had led many would-be vendors to delay bringing their properties to market.

These pent-up listings are now hitting the market and sales volumes are likely to remain elevated over the remainder of Spring. Despite lockdowns, Victoria has experienced a strong year, with year-to-date sales volumes sitting 61% higher than 2020, and 59% higher than 2019.

Days on site

The median time taken to sell a property in Victoria increased to 42 days in September, up from 38 days in August and 33 days in July. With the ban on physical inspections only ending in the second half of September, many vendors may have elected to extend their selling campaigns.

The fastest selling properties have tended to be those in scenic outer suburbs, especially the Mornington Peninsula and Outer East.

Views per listing

The average number of views per ‘for sale’ listing increased by 9% to 2,058 in September, though remain below the peak level seen in March 2021. Properties on the Mornington Peninsula proved most popular, achieving over 5,000 views on average.


Queensland

Demand for property in Queensland has been supported by record levels of interstate migration, particularly from New South Wales and Victoria. Price growth has been strong across both metropolitan and regional areas, with coastal and riverside suburbs the outperformers.

Sales volumes

Preliminary weekly sales activity in Queensland has remained strong throughout the year, with year-to-date volumes currently above 2020 and 2019 levels by 51% and 75% respectively. After holding relatively steady over the winter months, volumes have been trending slightly up since the end of August.

Days on site

The median time taken for a property to sell in Queensland increased to 50 days in September, up from 48 in August. Despite the rise, since March 2021, the speed at which properties are selling is significantly faster than seen over the preceding three years, indicative of growing demand for Queensland property.

Moggill, in Brisbane’s West, was the fastest selling suburb, with properties spending just 10 days on the market on average.

Views per listing

Average views per ‘for sale’ listing rose by 5.9% over September to reach a new record high of 1,606. Average views have been trending up for 18 months and are now 70% higher compared to September 2020. The top regions for views were West Brisbane, South Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.


South Australia

South Australia has maintained its reputation as the slow and steady state, recording more modest price growth compared to the other states. The majority of the state’s price growth has been driven by suburbs in Greater Adelaide, which has seen more than double the level of price growth recorded in regional areas.

Sales volumes

Preliminary weekly sales activity in South Australia continues to outpace historic levels, sitting 39% higher year-to-date compared to the same period in 2020 and 51% higher compared to 2019.

Days on site

The median time taken for a property to sell in South Australia dropped from 42 to 32 to days between August and September, reaching a new record low. Bridgewater was the fastest selling suburb, followed by North Plympton and Glenside.

Views per listing

The average number of views a property listed for sale received in South Australia hit a new high in September, jumping by 8.6% to 1,912. Average views per listing had remained relatively unchanged throughout 2017 to 2019, but have been trending up since March 2020. Views were highest in the southern suburbs of Greater Adelaide.


Western Australia

While demand for property remains strong in Western Australia, there are signs of some cooling pressures emerging. These signs include a slight slowing in the speed at which properties are selling as well as a slight dip in sales volumes.

Sales volumes

The rise in sales volumes typically seen over Spring has not been seen in Western Australia over the last month, with a slight decline recorded over recent weeks. Despite this, the preliminary year-to-date count of sales remains well above historic levels, up 57% from 2020 and 87% from 2019.

Days on site

The median number of days properties for sale in Western Australia spend on site has been trending upwards since June, reaching 68 in September. Despite the rise, this was still below the 82 days taken in September 2020. The suburbs where it is fastest to sell a house are Shenton Park, Hillman, and Doubleview.

Views per listing

Properties for sale in Western Australia generated 809 view per listing on average in September, reflecting a fall of 0.8% over the month. Despite the decline, views remain well up from historic levels and are sitting 20.7% higher compared to 12 months ago. Inner Perth saw the most views per listing, averaging close to double the whole of state level.


Tasmania

Tasmania has maintained its strong performance, with the demand from buyers continuing to outweigh the supply of properties for sale. This increased competition is supporting price growth and leading properties to sell at record speeds.

Sales volumes

Compared to Australia’s other states and territories, Tasmania has recorded the lowest rise in sales volumes compared to previous years. So far this year, the preliminary weekly count of sales is 24% above 2020 levels, and 15% up from 2019. Accounting for this, the supply of properties listed for sale remains constrained, despite the high number of people looking to buy.

Days on site

The speed at which properties sell in Tasmania hit a new record in September, reaching a median of 31 days. This was down from 33 days in August and was the fifth consecutive month of declines with demand from buyers continuing to outweigh the supply of properties for sale.

Driving the decline was the Greater Hobart area which was the fastest selling region in the country. Of the top 10 fastest selling suburbs in the country, eight of them were in Greater Hobart.

Tasmania’s regional market is also highly competitive, with properties selling faster on average than those located in metro areas in the other states.

Views per listing

Properties for sale in Tasmania received more views per ‘for sale’ listing than any other state or territory in Australia. The average number of views held relatively steady over September, averaging 3,028 per listing, just below the highest level on record.


Northern Territory

There is considerably more activity in the Northern Territory’s property market compared to that seen historically. More properties are being listed for sale and receiving high numbers of views.

Sales volumes

The NT property market has recorded significantly more market activity compared to previous years. This is reflected in sales volumes, which are already sitting 68% above last year’s levels, and 70% higher than in 2019.

Days on site

The median number of days a property for sale in the Northern Territory spent on site held steady in September at 71 days. This was the longest median time to sell of any state or territory, however the speed varied significantly between the Greater Darwin (59 days) and Rest of Northern Territory (113 days) regions.

Views per listing

Properties for sale in the Northern Territory received 690 views per listing in September. Despite declining by 0.4% from August, this was still the third highest number of views per listing recorded in the territory.


ACT

Property prices in Canberra have risen significantly over the past 12 months, with growth second only to Sydney. Record high numbers of views per listing suggest sales activity is likely to remain strong over the remainder of Spring.

Sales volumes

Sales activity has picked up over the last month, with the year’s highest week for sales recorded in September. Compared to 2020, the year-to-date count of preliminary sales volumes are up 20%, and up 37% compared to 2019.

Days on site

The Australian Capital Territory tied with New South Wales as the fastest state or territory in which to sell a property. This was despite the median time taken to sell a property increasing from 24 to 27 days between August and September.

The fastest selling suburb for both houses and units was Ngunnawal, at 24 and 26 days respectively.

Views per listing

Views per ‘for sale’ listing have been trending up in the Australian Capital Territory since the start of the pandemic. Views per listing reach a new record high in September, reflecting a rise of 10.7% over the month and a whopping 49.1% year-on-year.

Originally published as: PropTrack Property Market Outlook – October 2021.

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