- 49% believe it's a good time to buy, down from last year's high of 67%
- The index hit a low of 42% in April 2020
- Finder also found that Aussies are happier now than before the pandemic
Finder’s latest Property Positivity Index shows that the proportion of property experts believing that now is a “good time to buy” has fallen to levels not seen since lockdown started just over a year ago.
This month the index sits at just 49% – only a few points higher than the gloomy low of 42% seen in April 2020.
By contrast, in December 2020 the index was up at a record high 67%.
According to Finder’s head of consumer research, Graham Cooke, Australians’ property optimism has “yo-yoed” over the past year.
“As lockdowns rolled out across Australia and open house inspections declined, Finder’s Property Positivity Index nosedived only to recover again as the housing market sprang back to life,” said Mr Cooke.
“Both the rock-bottom cash rate and FOMO have turbo-charged prices, but fears of a property bubble are making many Aussies pessimistic that now is the time to buy.”
Graham Cooke, Finder
As part of the survey, respondents were also asked about “prices near me” – that is, how they felt about prices in their local area.
Despite fewer experts believing it is a good time to buy, almost 3 in 4 felt that property prices in their neighbourhood would increase over the next year – triple the low of 24% recorded in April 2020.
In a similar result, more experts thought prospective first-home buyers should buy now (64%) rather than wait and potentially miss the market.
“Increased house prices driven by significant stimulus and low interest rate environment has the potential to lock out future first home buyers by making it even harder to come up with the deposit needed to enter the market.”
Rebecca Cassells, Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre
One of the other side of the debate was Dave Hilham, a stock market analyst from Wealth Within.
“This situation has been talked about since Adam was a boy and it will continue to be into the future. I have never seen a time when we thought property was cheap for anyone, let alone first-time buyers.”
David Hilham, Wealth Within
Regardless of whether the window of opportunity has been missed or not, Mr Cooke said the turnaround in property price expectations has been significant.
“The last 6 months resulted in the largest amount borrowed to buy housing in any 6-month period in Australian history,” he said.
“The property market really is surging back into life.”
We are happy
Not everything is about buying or selling property.
Finder also released findings from its Australian Happiness Index, which shows that though the index fell from 78% in February 2020 to a low of 69% in April 2020, this figure has fully recovered. An average of about 80% for every month so far this year has been recorded.
Mr Cooke said the happiness index is a useful tool to gauge the level of unease within a society.
“The first year of the study saw little movement, but sweeping COVID-19 lockdowns and general financial unease caused a significant dip,” he said.
“Since the index recovered in January 2021, Aussies have reported being more consistently happy than in the 12 months before the pandemic.
“When you look at how well we have done with the virus versus other countries, this might not be surprising.”