Seller confidence rebounds as buyer demand continues to surge


6 March 2021

Research released from Westpac today shows more Australians are thinking about selling their home now than before the pandemic, with low interest rates, improved consumer sentiment and strong economic forecasts fuelling confidence in the housing market.

More than a third (35%) of homeowners are planning to sell in the next five years, with over one in ten (12%) already in the process of putting their house on the market or planning to do so in the next 12 months.

This uplift shows an increase of five percentage points in selling intentions from last quarter, and more than double the number of homeowners that were planning to sell prior to COVID-191.

Despite this increase, the research found many Australians still have concerns about putting their home on the market. More than half (51%) say they’re actively holding off from listing their property, with three quarters (73%) concerned they won’t be able to find a new home once their current place is sold.

With 22 per cent of Australians planning to buy a first home in the next five years, competition with other buyers (30%) and a lack of supply (21%) were also cited among the top challenges for sellers.

Westpac’s Managing Director of Mortgages, Anthony Hughes, said there has been a big shift in Australian property aspirations over the last 12 months.

“Home ownership preferences have evolved since the start of the pandemic, with Australians seeking more space, peace and quiet, as well as properties which offer outdoor living like backyards and balconies.

“This is fuelling buyer demand and motivating more Australians to think about selling their current property so they can purchase a new home to better meet their future needs.

“The low interest rate environment, upbeat consumer sentiment, and improving economic outlook is also underpinning stronger seller confidence as we head into 2021. This will no doubt be welcome news for buyers eagerly awaiting more homes to come on the market,” said Mr. Hughes.

According to the research, one in five homeowners are selling for reasons directly relating to the pandemic – like accommodating working from home more (11%). One quarter (25%) are also seeking more space.

Westpac Senior Economist Matt Hassan said demand for housing has surged following the improved economic outlook and is running well ahead of supply.

“It is absolutely a seller’s market at the moment. Sales have seen a big lift over the last four months and are up over 36 per cent on a year ago, resulting in a significant tightening in supply with listings across the major capital cities now at a 12-year low.

“The research suggests the situation will rebalance in coming months as more sellers come onto the market, however demand is still expected to remain strong, driving a sustained lift in prices this year and next,” said Mr Hassan.

While two thirds (66%) of sellers agree moving costs are a big barrier to selling their home, the majority (87%) of homeowners intend on making upgrades in preparation for sale.

On average, they expect to invest around $32,000 for covering things like minor repairs (44%), fresh paint (44%) and upgrading a kitchen (19%) or bathroom (19%).

Homeowners anticipate their property will be listed for about five weeks, with half (50%) expecting a private sale.

Westpac’s top tips for preparing your home for sale:

1. Increase your kerb appeal.

An appealing property can help generate further interest into what your property has to offer. Simple measures like cleaning the front porch, adding some striking pot plants, or giving the front door a fresh coat of paint can help increase your kerb appeal.

2. Remove any clutter.

Removing everyday items can help provide clean and spacious areas that prospective buyers can envision living in. Consider removing personal items like family photos during inspections to help the buyer mentally ‘move in’.

3. Make your kitchen & bathroom shine.

Minor repairs or cosmetic changes can help transform a space into an inviting, modern living area. Painting old cabinets, updating doorknobs or cupboard handles and adding fresh towels, candles or flowers can help freshen up your kitchen or bathroom.

4. Let in the light.

Natural light can help make the home feel bright and spacious. Make sure to open all your curtains and blinds, wash your windows and prune back any plants that might block out the light ahead of any inspections.

5. Don’t forget outside.

Outdoor living is popular for many Australians. Sprucing up your outdoor areas by mending fences, weeding the garden, and adding a couple of extra plants can help entice prospective buyers.

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