$381 billion: Australians are spending big on property

Australians on the east coast bought a staggering $381 billion worth of property in the past financial year, new settlement and mortgage figures reveal.

Buyers were hungry for bricks and mortar on the eastern seaboard with every state recording a significant increase in property sales, online property exchange network PEXA found.

Queensland led the way with the Sunshine State recording 203,000 transactions, an increase of 37.1 per cent in the 2021-2021 financial year, PEXA‘s Property and Mortgage Insights East Coast report shows, which included residential and commercial property sales. The total value of sale settlements jumped 44.3 per cent in Queensland, reaching more than $107 billion and outperforming Victoria for the first in more than a decade. The overwhelming majority of those transactions were driven by the residential sector with commercial property sales making up just over a fifth of settlements.

It was followed by NSW, which recorded 219,000 sale settlements, rising 25.8 per cent in the same period. But the sales in NSW were worth the most at $147 billion, a 25.7 per cent increase. The state’s residential sector accounted for more than 84 per cent of all settlements even though commercial sales were up more than 30 per cent over the financial year.

Victoria lagged behind at 199,000 settlements — up 11 per cent — worth more than $127 million. Commercial sales helped the locked-down state as it made up a third of settlements, up 27 per cent in the financial year.

PEXA head of research Mike Gill said the east coast’s rising property market helped lead the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic-induced recession.

“Most households’ wealth is tied up in their property, for owner-occupiers and investors, too, so when property prices do increase there is this general sense of more wealth among consumers,” Mr Gill said. “Consumer spending goes up across the board. There are flow-on benefits in a strong property market and rising housing prices.”

He said while Queensland’s property market was driven by its affordability for locals and interstate buyers, expats and pent-up demand powered real estate in NSW.

Victoria’s extended lockdown dragged Melbourne’s metropolitan market as many were unable to transact on property, but buyers went farther afield, purchasing country and commercial real estate, Mr Gill said.

“Business owners and landlords are looking at the other side of the pandemic and it’s a real vote of confidence in that sector,” Mr Gill said.

Settlements in regional Victoria were up 28 per cent while Melbourne was down 2 per cent year on year.

Regional property markets recorded exceptional growth across the east coast with sale settlements up 36.3 per cent in NSW and 22.7 per cent in Queensland, the report found. Many suburbs outside capital cities featured in the top 10 settlement postcodes.

In NSW, the greatest number of property sales were in Port Macquarie, Orange and Dubbo. In Queensland, the most amount of sales were in Surfers Paradise, Southport and Maroochydore.

When it came to how buyers were funding their purchase, new residential loans were up 22.3 per cent in NSW and up 3.4 per cent in Victoria.

However, regional buyers were less likely to fund their purchase with a loan compared with their city counterparts. About 66 per cent of regional settlements had a new loan compared with about 80 per cent of capital city settlements, pointing to lower regional property prices, the report found. But, loans for settlements in regional areas grew much quicker than in capital city areas due to buyers flocking to regional areas to buy property. In Sydney, new loans were up 15.9 per cent, whereas in the rest of NSW they were up 38.8 per cent. It was a similar trend in Victoria, where new loans in Melbourne were up just 2.1 per cent, whereas they increased 35.2 per cent in the rest of the state.

Written: 14 July 2021

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