Lockdowns Delay Spring Market Activity

15th September 2021

The lockdowns in Australia’s biggest markets will delay the typical uplift in activity during the spring selling season, realestate.com.au economist Paul Ryan said, although states free of restrictions face a more normal spring selling period.

“While COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, housing market activity will continue to be subdued, but I see this as only a delay. So it’s a pause rather than a hibernation,” Mr Ryan said.

“Once restrictions ease and sellers can confidently list, we expect activity to rebound towards the end of 2021 with momentum continuing in 2022.”

Mr Ryan said while buyer demand remained strong with enquiry on realestate.com.au at historically high levels, the lockdowns were impacting vendor activity.

“There are a lot of people on realestate.com.au who are in the serious stages of buying and that hasn’t really abated in these lockdowns, but what we have seen is seller activity has diminished,” he said.

“A lot of sellers are reluctant to list their homes when they can’t have a proper selling campaign and viewing inspections. That’s primarily affecting Sydney and Melbourne at the moment, but there is also some residual uncertainty in other parts of the country.”

While the report showed preliminary weekly sales volumes so far this year were 50.7% higher than the same period in 2020, sales were still well below their peak in April 2021.

Mr Kusher said sales volumes last week were 18.2% higher than the same week last year, despite more states being in lockdown.

While sales volumes had lifted in some states and territories, Mr Kusher said they were trending lower in areas subject to lockdowns and restrictions, and that trend was expected to continue.

“Victoria is likely to see a steeper fall in sales given that one-on-one inspections are currently banned in the state,” Mr Kusher said.

“If new listings continue to rise elsewhere, and those states and territories remain out of lockdown, it’s reasonable to expect a lift in sales in those areas over the coming weeks.”

The median number of days a property was listed for sale on realestate.com.au rose for the third consecutive month in August, to 41 days.

“The lack of new stock coming to market could be encouraging buyers to purchase older stock, which may be contributing to the rise in days on site,” Mr Kusher said.

“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.”

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