Some new data off the real-estate websites, shows us that buyers are hungry. Can we trust it?
Have you heard of them before?
Me either. Not until this week, anyway.
The REA group, which publishes realestate.com.au, has just launched a new data series.
I’m always hungry for data and interested in what the pointy-heads come up with, so I was curious to see what this one is about.
Anyway, this new series tracks “high-intent buyers” engaging with the realestate.com.au platform.
That is, they how many ‘serious’ buyers there are at any point in time.
How do you measure ‘serious’?
Well, they’re not giving too much away, but they say,
The characteristics of serious buyer activity includes but is not limited to; the number of visits to a listing, looking at the photos for a listing multiple times, saving the property, sharing the property and/or making an enquiry with the agent.
That is, it’s a bit of a black-box, but definitely some interesting metrics in the mix there.
Anyway, how does it chart out through these wild and crazy times? Like this:
That is, there was a pretty sharp drop off around the early days of lockdown, but that has been followed by a very strong rebound.
Interest from ‘high-intent buyers’ seems to be running hot.
In their words:
The latest data shows that the number of highly-engaged listing interactions on realestate.com.au has increased by 0.7 per cent last week. That means that serious buyer activity has now increased for the past nine weeks and is up 100.8 per cent from its low at that time.
One of the likely drivers of such high volumes of serious buyer activity is the fact that there are so few properties listed for sale. With less stock, serious buyers narrow their focus much more and are likely to be more highly engaged with the listings that are on the site.
The data indicates that it isn’t just search volumes that are climbing, we are also seeing a significant increase in the volume of people searching that are in the late stage of their purchase decision.
I actually find that picture a bit confusing.
Are people using the website more intensely because there’s fewer properties on the market, and fewer listings to drool over?
Or is it because buyers are getting more serious? That they’re keener to buy?
I’m not sure.
My feelers on the ground are also getting some pretty mixed messages.
I’ve got a mate with a property on the market right now and he reckons he’s getting “nothing buy tire kickers” and he’s probably going to pull it in the next couple of weeks.
But then I’m hearing stories from inner-ring regional areas – like the Southern Highlands in NSW – where properties are selling off the agent’s database and aren’t even making it to market.
(If you were thinking about bailing on Sydney, Covid was probably the push you needed.)
Anyway, whatever the case, it’s a very unusual market. Lots of hungry buyers – possibly bargain hunters – in the market, very little supply.
Where prices go in that scenario is anyone’s guess.