Buyer-search activity remains high despite the decline in listings

Homeseekers are remaining active amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with search activity and enquiries still rising, according to REA Group.

Nerida Conisbee, chief economist of REA Group, said buyer-search activity on has increased by 46% across the country. This boost in search activity has resulted in a 24% increase in enquiries. Conisbee said enquiries show greater intent to purchase than searches alone.

"There are many factors driving this uptick, including a relatively low number of active COVID-19 cases, a stable banking system, incredible levels of government stimulus, and importantly, the gradual opening of the economy," she said in a think piece in Property Observer.

Conisbee said the improvement in both search activity and enquiries came despite the decline in listings.

"A return to the usual ways that people can buy, sell and rent property is the best news for the industry since mid-March, but the real benefit will come once we see increased real estate listings," she said. "A big challenge for Australia's economic recovery will be confidence, and right now, listing volumes are still well down."

Conisbee also observed that the days-on-market are shorter over the past month compared to the same period last year. The situation was different in mid-March when COVID-19 restrictions were put in place.

"Encouragingly, the days-on-site in April 2020 were far lower than what they were in April 2019. It is likely that the low number of properties for sale, combined with increasing levels of search and enquiry, are driving this trend," she said.