Homebuyers remained busy in the first quarter of the year despite the apparent slowdown in price growth, with sale settlements maintaining their levels from the record-breaking numbers seen last year.

According to PEXA Insights, more than $150bn worth of property settlements were recorded across the east coast of Australia, comparable to the levels during the same period in 2021.

PEXA Insights head of research Mike Gill said one surprising trend over the quarter is the resurgence of metropolitan areas, which outperformed regional markets across east coast states.

“Throughout the COVID pandemic, regional areas boomed, however with restrictions significantly relaxed, it appears Australian homebuyers have refocused on the metropolitan regions,” he said.

Victoria registered the highest year-on-year growth in sale settlement value at 36% to $50.9bn for 50,702 settlements.

A separate study from the Real Estate Institute Victoria (REIV) showed that over the quarter, price growth in metropolitan areas is stabilising.

While quarterly data show declines of 0.3% for house prices, metropolitan Melbourne reported an annual growth of 18%.    

Meanwhile, Queensland was the busiest during the quarter in terms of sales, reporting the highest volume at 51,458, valued at around $39bn.

This was the third consecutive quarter that Queensland recorded the highest sale settlement volume.

Some of the hottest markets in Queensland include Toowoomba, Surfers Paradise, Mackay, and Bundaberg.

In terms of overall settlement value, New South Wales achieved the greatest figure at $62.3bn for 48,100 settlements.

Meanwhile, Western Australia witnessed a resurgence over the first three months of the year, coinciding with the reopening of its borders to the eastern states.

The state reported a settlement volume of 23,408 with a value of $14bn.

Western Australia bucked the trend seen in east coast states, as its regional areas continued to outgrow metropolitan markets.

PEXA Insights chief data and analytics officer Scott Butterworth said while the strong showing in settlements over the quarter reflects the property market’s resilience, there are still factors that could influence the direction of the market over the rest of the year.

“A level of uncertainly remains across global markets with new variants of COVID emerging, the Russian invasion continuing, and rising interest rates,” he said.