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Australia’s Love Affair With Property Remains

By Paige Miller

Most Australian investors were largely undeterred by the events of 2020, and remained eager to push through with their property purchase plans, a new survey has found.

Despite having to face the impacts of COVID-19, a majority of Australians remain in pursuit of their dream to own a home, according to the 2020 Buyer Barometer Survey by the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia (REBAA) and Property Talk Australia (PTA).

Of the 745 home buyers and investors from across the country who participated in the survey, only 15 per cent said that they put their search on hold in response to COVID-19, while 9 per cent changed their buying criteria.

Meanwhile, 10 per cent inspected a property and a significant 21 per cent went ahead with the purchase despite the pandemic.

“2020 was a tumultuous year for the Australian property market in the midst of a global pandemic, record-low interest rates, massive government incentives and softer lending conditions,” REBAA president Cate Bakos said.

“[The results proved that] the pursuit of the ‘great Australian dream’ can withstand the sharpest of downturns.”

Of those who planned to invest in 2021, 20 per cent said they will fund their next purchase with cash in hand.

Meanwhile, 45 per cent plan to obtain a loan via a broker, while 29 per cent intend to finance their next loan directly through a bank.

Buying trends

Houses are expected to remain the number one choice of investment in the real estate market in 2021, the survey revealed.

Of those looking to purchase in the next 12 months, 49 per cent are interested in purchasing a house, with the remainder distributed across townhouses, units, holiday homes and apartments.

Most of these purchasers categorise themselves as owner-occupiers (40 per cent), followed by investors (37 per cent).

According to Ms Bakos, in the midst of a difficult year, combined with an overall stock shortage, it’s evident that buyer frustration is high.

“We have seen surprising house price growth despite COVID-19 and we expect this to continue throughout this year as pent-up demand plays out,” Ms Bakos said.

Moving forward, interstate and regional locations are expected to stay in demand, with 23 per cent of buyers considering an interstate location for their next purchase.

While more buyers still want to stay within an hour’s drive of their current home (26 per cent), a significant number have also become open to considering a purchase more than two hours from their current address (16 per cent).

According to the survey, the historically low interest rate is contributing to the regional appeal.

But, in addition to an increase in interstate investments, buyers are also looking into renovation as part of their investment strategy in 2021, as they look to manufacture capital growth in the current market.

The survey found that almost a quarter of all respondents, or 24 per cent, are looking for a property with renovation potential.

Others were interested in subdivision potential, along with granny flats and properties with separate tenancies.

Overall, the survey results proved that Australians have remained resilient amid a once-in-a-century event, according to PTA spokesperson Chris Dimitropoulos.

“The key takeaway for us real estate enthusiasts is that Australia’s love affair with property remains steadfast in the face of a pandemic and the worst economic conditions in decades,” he concluded.


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