nicola powell
Dr Powell said accumulation of savings has fueled Australians purchasing power. Image – Canva.
  • In the combined capitals, dwelling demand peaked in March of this year
  • Based on a index launched in 2017 to track "likely to buy" demand for residential property
  • Individually, capitals peaked between early last year and July this year

Demand for dwellings hit a record high in March this year, according to Domain’s Buyer Demand Indicator.

The index, which was launched in 2017, tracks weekly “likely to buy” demand for houses and units across Australia.

Those “likely to buy” are tracked based on actions they take on the Domain website itself, such as shortlisting a home, sending an inquiry and other proprietary signals.

A rise in the indicator suggests market conditions favour sellers as the “likely to buy” activity is increasing. A declining indicator benefits buyers as there is less competition for properties, potentially reducing upward price pressure.

According to the data collected, both houses and units in the combined capital cities saw buyer demand peak nationally in March 2021.

Breaking this data down, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane peaked in March, but peaks varied for the rest of the country.

In Adelaide, houses reached a peak in September 2020 while units topped in July 2021. In Hobart, houses peaked in February this year but units peaked in February 2020 – just before the pandemic truly impacted Australia.

In regional Australia, the peak was far more recent, having occurred in July.

“Record low interest rates, prioritisation of home-life due to travel restrictions and accumulation of savings through COVID-19 has given Australians greater buying power which increased buyer demand as well as house prices,” said Domain’s Dr Nicola Powell.

“Demand for houses and units are now on par as house prices create affordability restraints for first home buyers, this is particularly evident in Sydney and Melbourne”

Dr Nicola Powell, Domain

Demand is higher for houses and units in the combined capital cities, regional areas and all of the individual capital cities, in terms of buyer demand during winter 2021 compared to a 3-year winter average.

This is with exception of Hobart which saw a 2% decline in demand for houses during winter 2021 compared to the three-year average.

The extent of the increase in buyer demand varies considerably between the individual capitals. While Brisbane and Sydney saw a 14% rise in buyer demand for houses in winter compared to the average, Darwin saw an 84% increase.

In terms of units, this ranges from 7% in Hobart to an extraordinary 194% for Darwin.

Domains’ Buyer Demand Indicator and New Listings

domains main indicators
The indicator tends to correlate with new listings. Source: Domain

As the market heads into “spring season” Domain anticipates sellers may continue to postpone listings until lockdowns and restrictions are eased, noting previous research points to inspections playing a critical role

“If restrictions are eased across the states over September, October we could see a bigger than usual spring season as sellers seek to transact prior to the summer break,” concluded Dr Powell.

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