Cooler Christmas market hasn’t dampened buyer demand

While the housing market got off to a slower start in January than had previously been expected, buyer demand hasn’t dwindled.

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REA Group’s recent PropTrack Housing Market Indicators Report has analysed property market consumer behaviour data for the beginning of 2022.

Using demand based on views per listing on as a metric, the report revealed that buyer demand increased 48.2 per cent month-on-month to a new high in January, which saw a 41.9 per cent rise from this time last year.

With the exception of Victoria, there was record-high demand in listings in all states. Brisbane (81.5 per cent), Adelaide (70.1 per cent), regional South Australia (92.4 per cent), and regional NSW (68.0 per cent) have seen the highest year-on-year increases.

Similar data was observed from the regions, which saw an increase of more than 35 per cent in views per listing year over year, except for the Northern Territory.

Eleanor Creagh, PropTrack senior economist and report author, said the Omicron variant may have slightly pulled back market activity, but “the housing market is off to a strong start” so far.

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

Evidence of this seasonal pause in activity can be seen by the fact that properties took longer time to sell on site (54 days) compared to 32 days in December.

However, the report noted that there was an increase in searches for houses with more than $1 million price point in the capital cities in January (45.2 per cent of searches) compared to the same time last year (36.8 per cent).

While house prices skyrocketed in 2021, Ms Creagh opined that this would not happen again in 2022.

“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,” she said.

Ms Creagh further explained that although property hunters are on the rise, according to buyer demand indicators, a more sustainable balance between buyers and sellers can be expected this year.

“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,” she concluded.

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