The Australian property market is showing no signs of slowing down for the remainder of 2021, with the latest REA Insights Housing Market Indicators Report revealing views per listing are at record highs and days on site at record lows.
The first REA Insights Property Outlook Report was launched in late February, and analyses consumer behaviour in real time by extracting property market insights from the 12 million Australians who visit realestate.com.au each month.
It combines key metrics – including search activity, email inquiry, views per listing, weekly sales, days on site of properties sold, filtered searches by price and bedroom – to provide an up-to-date view of the property market and emerging trends.
Authored by realestate.com.au Economist Anne Flaherty, the latest report shows views per listing were up 6.1 per cent nationally for the month in March and increased by a massive 106.8 per cent year-on-year.
The surge in the number of views per listing was particularly pronounced in Tasmania in March, 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 experienced the strongest growth in views per listing, up 127.4 per cent, followed by New South Wales (116.1 per cent), and Western Australia (109.5 per cent).
Listings are forecast to pick up over the remainder of 2021, which is expected to help alleviate supply constraints and may contribute to a decline in views per listing over time.
The data also showed properties were selling at record speeds in March, with the average number of days properties are listed for sale on realestate.com.au hitting record lows in every state last month (48 days on average, down from an average of 71 days in June 2020).
Properties sold the fastest in the Australian Capital Territory in March, at an average of 25 days on market, followed by New South Wales (27 days) and Victoria (30 days).
The report has attributed the combination of the low cost of debt and the unprecedented level of government support to the surge in buyer activity this year.
It has found buyers are currently searching for more expensive properties than they were a year ago and are also looking for more space, with inquiries for houses and land surging, while demand for units has softened.
The number of transactions has been trending upwards and is tipped to keep rising as more listings are brought to market over the remainder of 2021.
Buyer search volumes on realestate.com.au have increased by 62.7 per cent compared to 12 months ago, driven in part by the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions in March 2020.
Over the first quarter of 2021, the number of property transactions increased by 39.8 per cent nationally when compared with the same period in 2020.
Although sales volumes dipped over the last two weeks of March – in line with the seasonal impact of Easter – they have been forecast to pick up again towards the end of April.
By state, the Northern Territory and Western Australia had the largest increases in properties sold when comparing the first 14 weeks of 2021 with 2020, up 68.8 per cent and 48.8 per cent respectively.
Three-bedroom dwellings have remained the most popular with buyers and have experienced an increase in the share of searches over the past 12 months.
By contrast, there has been a slight drop in demand for one-bedroom dwellings, although the decline in preference for one-bedders was less pronounced in regional areas.
Buyers were also found to be searching for dwellings at a higher price point between March 2020 and March 2021, with a significant drop in searches to buy sub-$500,000 properties in both 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.
Prospective buyers considering purchasing in regional areas were found to be searching for more affordable properties, with 57 per cent of all searches in the sub-$750,000 range, compared with 35.7 per cent in capital cities.
Searches for properties in the $1 million-plus range 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.
The report also found investors have been returning to the market. In March, searches by those identifying as investors accounted for 16.9 per cent of email inquiries.
Inquiries from first-home buyers, which fell to 22.1 per cent in March 2021, are predicted to continue trending downwards for 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.