Buyer demand across Australia has reached a record high despite lockdown restrictions in some states.
Buyer demand and email inquiries surged by 12.2 per cent in August, with views per listing up 46.7 per cent on the same time last year, according to the latest REA Insights Housing Market Indicators Report.
REA Group Director Economic Research Cameron Kusher said all property types recorded an increase in inquires.
Houses rose by 14.5 per cent, units climbed 9.3 per cent and even vacant land recorded an increase of 6.4 per cent.
Developer inquiry also lifted 6 per cent in August to reach an historic high.
Houses maintained the dominant share of inquiries (61.9 per cent), followed by units (29.1 per cent) and then land (9 per cent).
“Limited housing stock available for sale combined with prolonged lockdowns in a number of states and territories has created difficult conditions for buyers,” Mr Kusher said.
“With lockdowns expected to continue in the ACT, NSW and Victoria, we may not see this demand pressure alleviated until seller confidence returns and the volume of new supply increases once lockdowns end.
“This disconnect between the supply of stock for sale and buyer demand is likely to create upwards price pressures.”
Declining stock created surge of views per listing
As the amount of stock for sale declined, demand based on views per listing on realestate.com.au reached an historic high in August to be 46.7 per cent higher year-on-year.
Demand based on the number of views per listing on realestate.com.au increased over the month in all states and territories except for Victoria (down 6.7 per cent) and the ACT (down 3.7 per cent).
South Australia and the Northern Territory saw particularly large monthly increases, at 11.2 per cent and 8.3 per cent respectively.
The ongoing reduction in the volume of stock available for sale coupled with elevated search volumes resulted in record high interest from buyers in August.
Search volumes reached historic highs in Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.
Heightened volumes of search activity over the coming month are likely as lockdowns continue in the ACT, NSW and Victoria.
What are buyers looking for?
In August, 45.1 per cent of combined capital cities searches were for properties between $500,000 and $1 million.
Searches for metro properties above $1 million were at 39 per cent, compared to 34.4 a year earlier.
In regional sectors, half of all searches were for properties between $500,000 and $1 million.
Property seekers are also continuing the trend of searching for three or more bedrooms, highlighting the increased desire for more space.
In August, 68.2 per cent of filtered searches were for properties with a minimum of three bedrooms. This is being seen across capital cities (67.6 per cent) and regional areas (71.1 per cent).
Fewer buyers are seeking inner-city units, many of which have one or two bedrooms.
Median days on market
Of properties sold in August, the median days on site rose to 41 days, up from 39 days in July 2021. This was the longest period since February this year.
With limited new listings coming to market, older stock that may have been for sale for an extended period of time is now being bought, resulting in the overall days on site metric increasing.
Mr Kusher suggested if lockdowns result in new listing volumes remaining low in September, we’d expect that there might be a further increase in days on site.
Despite lockdowns, days on site fell in Sydney over the month. Out of lockdown, South Australia and Tasmania also saw fewer days on site.
Weekly sales results to-date in 2021 are 50.7 per cent higher compared to the same time period last year, and 63.6 per cent higher than the same period in 2019. Although, they are still well below their peak in April of this year.
However, states and territories enduring lengthy lockdowns have started to see sales volumes trend lower over recent months.
Despite more states currently in lockdown than there was a year ago, sales volumes last week were 18.2 per cent higher than over the same week last year.