Lockdowns creating havoc in Australia's property market – REIA

Despite booming demand, lockdowns are keeping new listings low, peak body says

Lockdowns creating havoc in Australia's property market – REIA

Lockdowns are creating havoc in Australia’s property market as listings continue to be delayed despite strong buyer demand, according to the Real Estate Institute of Australia.

REIA President Adrian Kelly said this spring didn’t feel like a typical spring market.

“Where we would usually see an influx of new properties coming to market, the opposite is happening,” Kelly said. “Melbourne estate agents have been closed for business with spring auction campaigns shelved, although the recent allowance of inspections should ease that pain somewhat. Sydney agents are still trading, but under very much imposed conditions. Canberra agents have only just seen restrictions eased, while in other jurisdictions agents are still trying to operate normally.”

Kelly said that despite low mortgage rates, REIA wasn’t seeing the usual number of new properties coming to market. He said spring listings were down by a “staggering” 20% to 40%.

“Having said that, though, buyer demand is absolutely through the roof, with most agents reporting that for every property they are selling, they probably could have sold it another five to 10 times over,” he said. “That is the silver lining – for those sellers that do go to market now, they are achieving premium prices due to low levels of competitive properties and pent-up buyer demand.”

Kelly said there was “a very large cohort” of sellers who would typically put their homes on the market now – particularly retirees who wish to downsize. Instead, those sellers are sitting on their properties – either because they’re forced to due to the lockdowns or because they’re worried about being able to find a new property once they sell their home.

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“We are at a stalemate until we reach more vaccinations and a return to some sort of normality,” Kelly said. “Perhaps the usual spring selling season will be somewhat shelved and we will look forward to a revitalised summer selling season. Either way, the demand for Australian property still remains very strong, and sale prices are continuing to rise.”

REIA has urged the government to focus on a national housing plan to increase affordability for first-home buyers through strategies such as addressing stamp duty costs.

“Everybody needs somewhere to live, and you can’t live in a share portfolio,” Kelly said.