A General Sense of Optimism

Talk of cooling markets, the growing sense interest rates will rise this year, and widespread outbreaks of COVID-19 have done little to dampen homebuyer and seller confidence.

Two new reports released on Wednesday 9th Feb 2022 show a strong start to 2022. That’s despite expectations the Omicorn strain’s grip on large parts of the country could see many delaying real estate-related decisions until case numbers peak.

Instead, a key measure of buyer demand hit its highest level in three years, while an indicator of new listings supply surged to its biggest result in eight years.

Buyer demand measure roars back to life, across the country, views per listing in January were 41.9% higher than this time in 2021 and 48.2% higher month-on-month, representing the best result since 2019.

Admittedly, December was a quiet month due to the traditional summer slowdown in real estate, but even compared to November – which was a bumper period – views per listing were still up 21.5%.

So, broadly speaking, would-be buyers remain very active, but supply is still fairly constrained relative to demand.

The good news for those looking right now is that more and more stock is coming onto the market – in most areas, at least. New listings nationally were up 24.2% month-on-month in January, bouncing back from a seasonal slowdown seen in December. Compared to the same time last year, new listings were 14.3% higher at a national level.

Melbourne had a particularly busy start to the year. The Victorian capital had its busiest January for new listings since January 2011, up 67.5% month-on-month and 4.7% year-on-year. 

This continues the strong listings activity we saw during the record-breaking spring selling season that followed the end of Melbourne’s lockdown.

Outbreaks of COVID across the country seemingly haven’t deterred people from continuing to live their lives, including buying and selling property. Although we’ve seen the Omicron case numbers really surging in January, buyers and sellers seem to be confident. We think there’s a few other things at play here. There’s less uncertainty for the year ahead because even though cases are up, the strategy of large-scale lockdowns of cities is over, so people can have a bit more certainty about life.

We think sellers are also responding to the very strong price growth that we saw last year, and also the elevated levels of prospective buyer demand.

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