21 Feb 2022

Buyers feel priced out of their local area but not priced out of the market, national survey finds

The majority of Australian homebuyers and investors are remaining optimistic about 2022, despite a sense of being priced out of their local market, according to the latest REBAA & PTA Buyer Barometer COVID survey.

The annual survey which gathered insights from 669 homebuyers and investors nationally, found that most buyers expect the boom conditions to continue through this year despite the uncertainty of a global pandemic.

“2021 was a contradictory year for the Australian property market with the country witnessing boom conditions despite the fact that much of the nation was in lockdown for substantial periods of time,” said Real Estate Buyers Agents Association (REBAA) president Cate Bakos.

“Despite the uncertainty our survey highlights the sheer resilience of the Australian property market and the optimism of the buyer community.

“When it comes to a fear of missing out, buyers are pretty evenly split with 48% afraid they’ll miss the boat in 2022 but an optimistic 52% believe they can still get a foot on the property ladder, indicating buyer sentiment remains high going into the new year.”

An estimated 40% of buyers purchased last year despite the pandemic, up from 21% the year prior. More than half, 56%, of buyers say COVID had no impact on their purchasing strategy and either purchased during COVID-19 or are still looking to buy.

Of those who did not make a purchase, almost one third (27%) wanted to buy but were unable to inspect due to lockdowns and interstate border restrictions.

The survey found a further 20% of buyers who were able to inspect this year are still looking to buy with the remaining 13% of buyers able to inspect but choosing not to purchase during COVID-19.

Ms Bakos said the results also indicated that investors would be more dominant in 2022 with 49% of those looking to invest in a subsequent investment, up from 43% last year.

“Queensland is the most desirable property location with 38% of buyers looking to buy in the Sunshine State,” said Ms Bakos.

“This is not surprising given Brisbane has been the second strongest performing property market in 2021. Of those looking to purchase in Queensland, 24% expect growth, 14% are attracted by the desirable lifestyle and 13% are investing for affordability.

“We polled both owner occupiers and investors, so this data no doubt captures both sea and tree changers.”

Ms Bakos said she would not be entirely shocked if housing price growth in 2022 exceeded that recorded in 2021 as pent-up buyer demand plays out.

Property Talk Australia (PTA) spokesperson Chris Dimitropoulos said he was reassured that the outlook for residential property investment in 2021 was optimistic and he was looking forward to what lies ahead for the market this year.

“The key takeaway from this latest survey is that Australia’s love affair with property remains strong despite the ongoing cloud around the pandemic,” he said.