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  • A state-by-state spring selling season forecast

A state-by-state spring selling season forecast

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So far the second half of 2021 hasn't gone the way that many would have expected, and the disruptions caused by Covid have meant the typical spring selling rush is off to an unusual start. 

CoreLogic's latest data shows there has been a lift in new listings in every capital city regardless of lockdowns, although they're still mostly below five-year seasonal averages, and with so much pent-up demand building in recent months, there's plenty more action to come yet.

With each state now on its own unique path into the warmer months, we're taking a look at what's expected as this rollercoaster of a year approaches its end with the help of BuyersBuyers co-founder and leading industry expert Pete Wargent.

New South Wales

Sydney is now entering its fourth month of lockdown, but the end is drawing nearer, and that's beginning to cause a stir in the market. 

CoreLogic points out that the rolling four-week count of new listings has been on the rise since mid-August. As of September 19th, those new listings are up +31 per cent.

"I think listings will start to increase. There will be a bit of a rush because there's only really three months until the summer break," Mr Wargent explains.

He expects that, given the late start to the spring selling season, activity is likely to be condensed and will go right the way through to Christmas. 

With Sydney's median house price now approaching $1.3 million, he also predicts renewed interest in apartments. 

"My guess is that the way the median house price has gone in Sydney there will be a shift towards units. Prices are so high now in Sydney that affordability will start to bite for the detached house market."

Looking to the regional markets, REA Insights notes that "price growth in the rest of New South Wales has continued to outpace Greater Sydney, supported by the growing preference for scenic lifestyle suburbs in regional areas."

Mr Wargent advises caution as the year goes on, though, as some of these booming markets may be approaching their peak. 

"I think there is some risk there for regional markets, everyone's assuming that this regional trend will go on forever but I think you'd probably find that things will probably go back towards normal some time next year and some of that demand for regionals might drop away a bit," he says.


Melbourne's sixth lockdown has been a particularly challenging one as in-person inspections have been unable to go ahead, but recent easings of restrictions have meant the market is able to kick back into gear. 

CoreLogic shows the Victorian capital has had the largest rise in new listing numbers, jumping up by +48.5 per cent as a result of the announcement around inspection restrictions. 

Mr Wargent explains that the Melbourne market dynamic has been a bit different to the rest of Australia.

"A lot of parts of the country have had stock levels at very, very low levels. That hasn't happened so much in Victoria though because people haven't been able to buy."

With all the weeks and months of inactivity, there's a great deal of pent-up pressure on both sides of the fence, but Mr Wargent thinks there's a chance that vendors will be overwhelmed by buyers as the spring season kicks into gear. 

"Melbourne's been in lockdown for 230-plus days. You'd look at that and say that's got to have some impact on small and medium-sized businesses," he says, suggesting that the broader hit to the economy might slow things down. 

Outside of the city, REA Insights notes that regional Victoria has outperformed the capital, delivering more than double the price growth over the past 12 months. 

The Mornington Peninsula and Outer East in particular have rocketed ahead in 2021, and there's a question mark over whether that kind of growth can go much further. 

"If you look at some of the Mornington suburbs, prices are up about 40 per cent during the pandemic," Mr Wargent says. 

"There is the potential there for things to reverse back towards the city and for some of that demand to drop away."


While Queensland hasn't had to face the extensive lockdowns seen across the rest of the East Coast, intermittent disruptions and a general sense of uncertainty seem to have dampened the early spring rush to some degree. 

CoreLogic explains "while the [lockdown] hangover appears to be lifting, the upwards shift is mild and the count of new listings remains -3.8 per cent below the five-year average."

Mr Wargent sees the market as being very favourable for sellers, though, especially when it comes to houses. 

"[Queensland is] probably the tightest market at the moment," he says. "Particularly Brisbane—if you're trying to buy a detached house in Brisbane there's nothing, there's just no stock."

He points out that transaction levels are currently very high, "partly because people have relocated up from Victoria when they were able to. About 43,000 in internal migration to South East Queensland, largely from Victoria, so there's a lot going on there."

In what he describes as being "proper boom conditions," he explains that Brisbane is now playing catch up with markets like Sydney which have exploded in 2021.

As demand shifts away from Sydney and Melbourne due to affordability issues, there should continue to be a trend towards price growth in Queensland which appeals especially to interstate buyers due to lower prices and lifestyle benefits. 

REA Insights data also shows that the median days listed on realestate.com.au before selling in Queensland is currently close to its lowest point, suggesting stock is being snapped up quickly. 

South Australia

Having been better insulated from Covid disruptions than most other states, South Australia's spring season hasn't been held back quite so much. 

As a result, CoreLogic report that the new listings trend in Adelaide is +1.0 per cent above average. 

REA Insights data shows the median number of days properties are listed on realestate.com.au before selling is down around its lowest point of 43 days in August, so demand is high and homes are shifting hands fast. 

Speaking about Adelaide, Mr Wargent says "the market there is doing relatively well, largely because it's relatively affordable compared to elsewhere."

He says that houses in suburbs close to the CBD as well as some of the coastal markets have done particularly, although inner-city units are "pretty flat," much like they are in Sydney and Melbourne. 

With lockdowns looking more and more improbable for South Australia, it's likely the state's spring selling season will be able to forge ahead without interruption and further price growth is on the cards. 

Western Australia

Western Australia has made a point of keeping its borders rock solid and it's meant that the state has done a stellar job of trucking along with minimal Covid interference. 

CoreLogic's numbers show that new listings in Perth are up +7.9 per cent from the five-year average. They're a full +18.3 per cent higher than the same period last year. 

While that means there's plenty of activity in the market, price growth has slowed right down in recent months. Mr Wargent says there are a few reasons for that. 

"One of the things in Perth is there's been a tremendous boom in house building, and that has capped the gains to some degree and things seem to have levelled out," he says.

He also notes that the price of iron ore has dropped significantly, something that has a substantial impact on the state's economy, and the hard border has meant there's very little in the way of interstate migration to prop things up. 

Overall, Mr Wargent predicts that the supply and demand balance may have levelled out, which should keep prices relatively flat for the time being. 

Still, REA Insights highlights some positive signs for WA. They say that, with more vendors coming to the market, "year-to-date, there have been 63.1% more sales compared to 2020 and 89.6% more compared to 2019."

Australian Capital Territory

After a long and fortuitous run of avoiding lockdowns, the nation's capital has found itself under extended restrictions which has slowed market activity lately. 

With a roadmap out of lockdown having been announced and physical inspections back on the table, though, CoreLogic's data shows that new listings in Canberra are up +28 per cent compared to their low point two weeks ago.

They say that "with these rules now eased, it's likely the new listings trend will ramp up more substantially."

Staggering price growth has been at the centre of the ACT's property narrative this year, and Mr Wargent confirms that prices are still on the rise. 

"I saw some of the growth rates that Domain quoted and prices have really gone mad there," he says.

"Prices have done so much in 12 months that buyers might just get a bit more cautious now because realistically they've missed that wave. So I wonder if there might be more sellers looking to cash in now."

Even so, REA Insights shows that, as far as listings on realestate.com.au go, "properties in Australian Capital Territory sell faster on average than any other state or territory."

The median number of days a property spent listed on the site before sale is now down to a record low of 24, so there's clearly a serious number of high-intent buyers still out there ready to snap up whatever they can. 


Hobart and regional Tasmania currently wear the crown for the highest annual growth in the country—+24.5 and +25.6 per cent respectively—with new listings trending well down throughout 2021. 

CoreLogic's data shows that those new listings are now on the rise, but they're still down -9.6 per cent on the five-year average in the month to September 19th, so it's still very tight in the state for prospective buyers. 

Mr Wargent suggests that many of those buyers left behind may feel they've missed the boat in this cycle, but "at some point there will be more sellers."

Unlike Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, he says, development has been minimal in Hobart, with unit approvals being close to zero, so it hasn't been overbuilt and as a result there just hasn't been enough stock to satisfy demand. 

"At the moment the market seems to be going up and up but I do wonder… prices have outperformed everywhere over the past three years, and at some point that will peak."

REA Insights statistics show that the number of days Hobart properties are listed on realestate.com.au before they sell have continued to fall all the day down to 33 days, so homes are shifting very quickly. 

It stands to reason that any fresh stock coming to the market in spring will be met with a hungry pool of buyers who continue to struggle to break into the state. 

Northern Territory

According to CoreLogic, price growth in Darwin has wound back over the past quarter, although the median property value is still up a massive +22.0 per cent annually. 

Their latest figures show that new listings are +45.9 per cent up on the five-year average, so plenty of sellers are looking to take advantage of those gains. 

REA Insights plots the number of days properties have been listed on realestate.com.au before selling has risen from July to August and now sits at around 78 days, however they note that "this is still well below the average speed taken over the preceding four years."

As Mr Wargent sees it, it should continue to be business as usual up in the Northern Territory market over the coming months, with prices remaining at high levels. 

"I don't know if there's anything necessarily that's going to change too much," he says.