The report shows that property seekers remain motivated but after an exceptional 2021, buyer demand does appear to be leveling out from the extremely high levels seen last year.
At the same time, a surge in new listings towards the end of 2021 has helped to level out the supply and demand imbalance, taking some pressure out of the market.
Property search volumes in the first month of 2022 were a huge 26% higher than the previous month and only 5% down year-on-year, according to the PropTrack report.
The data indicates that the market is off to a slower start this year versus 2021, however search volumes have been slowly easing since October last year.
At the same time, the surge in Omicron cases throughout the country throughout January could also have impacted search activity, according to Eleanor Creagh, senior economist at REA Group and author of the report.
Queensland sits at the front of the pack when it comes to year-on-year property search volumes with a 13% jump year-on-year.
“Following several years of more modest growth, housing prices are still growing at a rapid rate in the sunshine state, supported by better affordability and strong demand from interstate migrants,” Creagh said.
This also supports what we are seeing - strong growth for 2022 in the Brisbane property market.
Western Australia, South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania, and the ACT are also elevated compared to last year.
Also supporting robust buyer demand is a 48.2% surge in views per listing month-on-month for January 2022.
PropTrack’s data for year-on-year views is just as strong at 41.9%.
Interestingly, the report comments that demand based on the number of views per listing on realestate.com.au was strong right across the country, with historic high views per listing in all states bar Victoria.
Brisbane (+81.5%), Adelaide (+70.1%), regional SA (+92.4%), and regional NSW (+68.0%) had the strongest increase in views per listing while all regional counterparts in each respective state bar the NT have seen views per listing surge more than 35% year-on-year.
“Historic views per listing levels reflect both very high interest from buyers and the relatively low volume of stock available for sale, particularly in regional areas,” Creagh states in the report.
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“The good news for buyers is that we have started to see more stock for sale coming to market. Although, in some areas like regional SA, Adelaide and Brisbane the available supply of properties for sale remains very constrained.”
National property sales volumes for the first month of 2022 are tracking at a very similar rate to last year thanks to continued market momentum from a robust 2021.
To date, preliminary weekly sales volumes this year are only 8% lower year-on-year and 21% higher than January 2020.
Sales volumes are off to a slower start in every state except Western Australia which has seen a 6% increase over the period, the report shows.
However, auction volumes have outpaced January last year and new listings remain elevated which could provide a tailwind for sales volumes into February.
At a national level, week 5 in 2022 alone recorded just 2.7% fewer sales than the same week last year.
But Queensland and South Australia stand from the rest with 5.7% and 4.0% more sales respectively than the same period in 2021.
“Although January 2022 was a slower start than in 2021 for both states, with search activity and views per listing highlighting that property seekers in these states remain highly motivated it seems likely that February 2022 sales volumes could outpace the same period last year as conditions remain stronger in these markets,” Creagh said.
Creagh is confident that the perfect storm for property prices experienced last year won’t be repeated in 2022.
“The surge in prices recorded over the past year will continue to ease given the benefits of lower mortgage rates have already been converted into higher prices,” she said.
She explains that high home prices, along with bottoming mortgage rates, will slow annual price growth.
She adds that as we progress further into the year, demand is likely to continue easing from peak levels and listings to remain elevated.
“Buyers and sellers who have held back until now will have the opportunity to transact unencumbered, providing another tailwind for activity,” Creagh said.
“Greater willingness from vendors to list their properties will provide more choice, improving the imbalance between the supply of properties for sale and demand [which] should also contribute to easing price growth this year.”
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