Hot property market cools as gap between buyers and sellers narrows

Price growth in Australia’s scorching property market has peaked and the first signs of a shift from an extreme sellers’ market to one that is more balanced have appeared, new data shows.

The latest PropTrack Housing Market Indicators Report shows that while there are still a throng of active buyers in the market, for the first time since the pandemic began, there’s a strong surge of new listings giving them more choice.

Preliminary weekly sales volumes might have fallen 1.7 per cent last week but they are still 11.6 per cent higher than the same week in 2020, the report showed.

So far this year, preliminary weekly sales are 59.4 per cent higher than over the same period in 2019 and 41.4 per cent higher than last year.

The states recording the biggest increases in cumulative sales this year have been Victoria (56.8 per cent) and the Northern Territory (44.7 per cent), while Tasmania (17.1 per cent) and the ACT (19.3 per cent) clocked up the lowest rises.

While there’s more stock on the market, the volume of weekly searches fell 5 per cent nationally last week.

It’s the seventh consecutive week search volumes have dropped, with an overall fall of 16.2 per cent across that period. This slowdown is seasonal, but the drop-off rate is higher than it was a year ago.

The average number of views per listing also fell 9 per cent in November, but remained 43.5 per cent higher than the same time in 2020.

PropTrack Director of Economic Research, Cameron Kusher said the property market was still experiencing elevated demand and high volumes of sales at rapid speeds, but there were signs some of the heat was coming out of the market.

“We are still seeing many active buyers, but for the first time since the pandemic began, the strong ramp up in new listings has given them more choice,” he said.

“Buyers continue to outweigh sellers in the current market, but the gap is narrowing, meaning the strength of the sellers’ market is softening.”

Mr Kusher said demand was expected to ease, with fewer disruptions from lockdowns expected to result in a consistent supply of new listings going forward. 

Price growth is also expected to slow.

“Encouragingly for buyers, the volume of competition for housing stock should also ease,” Mr Kusher said.

“Overall, we appear to be witnessing the first signs of a shift from an extreme sellers’ market to one which is slowly moving towards more balanced conditions between buyers and sellers.”

The report also showed days on site remained historically low, with the median number of days a property was listed on before it sold was 30 days.

That figure was unchanged from October and was still 14 days faster than at the same time last year.

Email inquiry to agents from buyers dropped 24.5 per cent in November, with first-home buyers the least active, with a 25.5 per cent drop.

Investor inquiry also fell 19 per cent in November.

Mr Kusher said the recently re-opened states had the largest decline in inquiry rates, especially Victoria.

“It is important to remember that people may choose to phone an agent rather than email or just turn up to inspections,” he said.

“Given property seekers can turn up for inspections in-person now, in all states, this may be a driving factor behind the slowing email inquiry.”

The PropTrack Housing Market Indicators Report analyses consumer behaviour in real time by extracting property market insights from the consumers who visit each month.

Key metrics include search activity, email inquiry, views per listing, weekly sales of properties listed for sale, days on site of sold properties, filtered searches by price and by bedrood, and developer inquiry.

The report also showed that the share of searches for properties listed above $1 million hit a record high in November, accounting for 44.1 per cent of all searches with a price filter.

Show More

Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.