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Surge in online activity from buyers searching in isolation

By Jamie Hatch

“Residential property search activity is now back to levels seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic as the nation turns its focus back to property.”

“Search activity for properties for sale on realestate.com.au increased by 5.9 per cent last week, taking weekly search activity to its highest volume since the first week of March this year.”

“Compared to the same week last year, searches for properties for sale were up 40.6 per cent last week – the largest year-on-year increase over the history of the data series” according to realestate.com.au.

View the graph from REA below to see the dramatic increase.

Consumers have been quick to adapt to life in lockdown by engaging with new digital tools and content to help shortlist properties. Searches for properties for sale and rent are also increasing.

Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White said the group as a whole “is selling more than we are listing”.

“Listings have dropped but buyer numbers haven’t. Life in isolation has seen a spike in online traffic from consumers interested in property, tips, agent advice and rentals,” Mr White said.

“Appraisals can be undertaken safely under Level 3 restrictions, and we have a range of safe ways for potential vendors to come to capitalise on the fact that there is little competition from other investment markets. We know people are looking and interest rates won’t get much cheaper.”

“Consumers have adapted to technology so fast, the uptake has been one of the true highlights of this incredible period. We believe this is a leading indicator to track future demand, and so we are pleased to see this influx of interest in our office websites.”

In the year to date, total users in the Ray White Group’s network of 760 Australian office sites rose 16 per cent to 6 million users, while total sessions have spiked up 19 per cent to 10 million. Sessions refer to overall usage of the sites by users, as some users will visit more than once.

Consumer engagement with 3D tours have increased by 285 per cent, according to REA. The leading property portal had 24.7 million property views per week in March.

The market has also seen a steady buyer interest in auctions. The process has been kept simple and easy by the fact that bidders get to stay at home and bid and buy property from their home environment. A lot of agents said online auctions wouldn’t work but there is proof that online auctions work.

Ray White Queensland Chief Auctioneer Mitch Peereboom said it had been a fascinating week with confidence building across all markets.

“A number of properties sold this week under the online auction platform, and buyers are excited, not deterred, about bidding online with at least three bidders per property. There’s been a number of properties selling well over reserve with massive pent up demand.” Mr Peereboom said.

“That number is certainly strong and indicates sellers coming to market and have the confidence to transact over the next month.”

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