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Aussie house hunters view property listings at a record rate

Homebuyers are out in force to start 2022, with new data showing views on property listings surged 48.2 per cent in January, setting a new record.

The latest PropTrack Housing Market Indicators Report February 2022 shows buyers are still incredibly active with views per listing on realestate.com.au also 41.9 per cent higher than this time last year.

Demand for property is consistent across the country, with historic high views per listing occurring in all states except Victoria last month. 

Queensland and South Australia continue to be the most in-demand locations for buyers with the largest year-on-year upticks in views-per-listing coming in Brisbane (81.5 per cent), Adelaide (70.1 per cent), regional SA (92.4 per cent) and regional NSW (68.0 per cent).

Country areas also dominated search interest in most states, with regional listings seeing a 35 per cent year-on-year increase in views. 

PropTrack Senior Economist and report author, Eleanor Creagh said market had bounced back to life quickly in 2022.

“Australia’s housing market is springing back to life after the holiday break, which typically brings a seasonal slowdown,” Ms Creagh said.

“The Omicron variant remains a distraction, but so far the housing market is off to a strong start. 

“We’re kicking off the year with many active buyers, although, a surge in new listings into the end of 2021 has provided a lot more choice, releasing some of the heat from the market.

“Indicators of buyer demand show property seekers remain motivated, but a more sustainable balance between buyers and sellers is expected in the year ahead. 

The report revealed search volumes across realestate.com.au were up 26 per cent in January, however, they were 5 per cent lower than the same time last year. Searches for properties peaked in May 2021 and have slowly declined since that time.

Across the capital cities, 45.2 per cent of searches were for properties listed above $1 million. A year ago, that share was just 36.8 per cent.

Owner-occupier interest continues to remain solid with the number of enquiries jumping 44.1 per cent in January, however, it has fallen 47.1 per cent year-on-year from peak levels recorded in January 2021. 

In 2021, first home buyer enquiries increased by 8.8 per cent but it has been investors leading the surge with a 30.4 per cent rise in enquiries since January 2021.

Ms Creagh said that while interest in property remains high, the house price gains we saw in 2021 are unlikely to be repeated this year.

“Last year’s surge in prices will continue to ease given the benefits of lower mortgage rates have already been converted into higher prices,” she said.

“The perfect storm for property prices experienced in 2021 won’t be repeated in 2022. As the tailwind from low interest rates is diminished, alongside more choice and less competition, price growth will moderate.”

Ms Creagh said new listings will help to ease pressure on buyers this year.

“The property market has had a slightly slower start compared to 2021, but still strong relative to prior years,” she said.

“Although, as we pass through the seasonal lull, we will get a better read on conditions. 

“Demand is likely to continue easing from peak levels as new listings are likely to remain elevated, with would-be sellers responding to the strong price growth witnessed last year.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.