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Australian property market: Pent-up demand sees search for homes rise to all-time high across the country

By Mo Zeitouneh

Light at the end of the lockdown tunnel for our two biggest cities has put house hunting at an all-time high, as seven-figure house prices become the new norm, according to new data from

The October PropTrack Housing Market Indicators Report out today has shown that although millions of Aussies have been stuck at home, that hasn’t stopped them desperately seeking for their next dream address.

Average views per listing has soared in all states. Data by REA PropTrack

Views per listing on the site in September went through the proverbial roof, email inquiries are unparalleled and house hunters are also prepared to spend more than they every have before.

There is still a lack of supply for keen buyers. Picture: Supplied

More eyes on the prize

After reaching a record in March this year, demand based on the average number of views per listing on increased a further 9.3 per cent in September and is now up 59.2 per cent compared with this time last year.

Locked down NSW and Victoria experienced the biggest monthly jumps at 16.8 per cent and 9 per cent respectively.

The unprecedented interest, according to report author Eleanor Creagh, highlights the continued lack of stock available to buy.

“Constrained supply of properties available for sale, coupled with elevated buyer demand, has resulted in record high views per listing on in September, outpacing the all-time high reached in August,” said Ms Creagh, PropTrack senior economist.

Data by REA PropTrack

A million becomes the new norm

As demand has outstripped supply, and prices continue to soar, seven-figure house hunting has become the new normal. Searches for properties at or above the $1 million mark were 44.2 per cent compared to 34.5 per cent 12 months ago, which translates to a new high for the milestone price point.

Searches for properties listed below $500,000 conversely hit a historic low in at 12.7 per cent, compared to 17.3 per cent a year earlier.

“Demand for properties remains strong and borrowing costs remain low. Despite some signs of price growth moderating, it would be reasonable to expect a further increase in higher-priced searches over the coming months,” Ms Creagh explained.

“However APRA’S new increased minimum interest rate buffers will impact the maximum amount that mortgage applicants can borrow, likely taking some of the steam out of the ever-increasing demand for higher priced property.”

Eleanor Creagh, REA’s Senior Economist at PropTrack

House hunters turn up the volume

Search volumes also rose throughout the month, especially in locked down NSW and Victoria. National volumes were just 5 per cent off their all-time high recorded in February this year, but remain 18.1 per cent higher year-on-year.

Volumes in Queensland, Northern Territory and South Australian also hit historic highs in September, according to the report.

“While lockdowns remain, restrictions are easing, vaccination thresholds are being met and road maps out of lockdown are drawing close. We would expect searches to remain elevated over the coming month, particularly if we see a rise in new listings,” Ms Creagh said.

The pandemic has driven demand for larger homes. Data by REA PropTrack

Buyers dial up inquires

With so many potential purchasers in lockdown and unable to easily attend open homes, especially out of their immediate area, they have become more active online according to the PropTrack report.

The volume of email inquiry to real estate agents on outpaced August’s record result to reach a new all-time high, jumping 14.6 per cent over the month.

Inquiry for all property types is unprecedented with house inquiry up 14.8 per cent, units rising by 16.9 per cent and land up 5.6 per cent.

Houses remain the most popular type of property at 62 per cent, with units at 29.8 per cent and land at 8.3 per cent.

Demand for new homes is higher than ever before. Picture: Supplied

Sales numbers continue to soar

Even sales turned a corner in locked down states, climbing 60 per cent to October 10 in Victoria after the return of private inspections, 68 per cent in the ACT and 4 per cent in NSW. Nationally, sales volumes were up 12.1 per cent in the same week to the highest level in 13 weeks.

“We’ve been seeing buyer demand rise over recent months and what we’re starting to see now is this interest translate into sales. Preliminary weekly sales volumes to-date this year are 47.5 per cent higher than over the same period last year,” Ms Creagh said.

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