The most in-demand suburbs in Australia are now areas with attractive lifestyle options rather than just blue chip neighbourhoods, new data shows.
The new REA Group Property Demand Index report, released today, shows that overall demand for houses and units is at an all-time high in New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
Demand for all dwellings is up by 17% in the 12 months to September 2016.
This year in September alone, demand for houses grew by 3.1% while the demand for units rose by 1.9% over the same period.
REA Group Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee says the report shows the housing market remains strong.
“What we’re seeing is that demand on realestate.com.au is at an all-time high, driven predominantly by a lack of supply, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne,” she says.
“Despite talk of over-supply and poor demand conditions, this result supports continued price growth in what are considered to be increasingly unaffordable markets.”
The REA Group Property Demand Index also reveals the top 10 most in-demand suburbs in the country in both February and September 2016.
The data shows that lifestyle factors, rather than prestige, are now driving demand in the housing market.
The difference in median price between the two suburbs is nearly $450,000.
LJ Hooker Head of Real Estate Christopher Mourd says buyers are looking to live in neighbourhoods with features such as schools or parks that suit their needs.
“Really it’s not an affordability piece, it’s an amenity piece. It’s lifestyle and amenity that’s driving it (demand),” he says.
Suburbs such as Brunswick, Northcote and Ascot Vale all feature in the top 10 most in-demand areas for houses and all of those neighbourhoods have good cafes, unique local shops, parks, good schools and are close to the city.
Buyers are influenced by lifestyle factors such as good local cafes.
Mourd says access to work, good public transport and being near family and friends can also sway which areas buyer choose to target.
Suburbs in areas with good infrastructure and lifestyle options continue to influence buyers, according to Conisbee.
“Inner-suburban locations feature strongly in areas seeing the most demand from buyers of houses. Warrandyte, which tops the list, is a notable exception,” she says.
For units and apartments, areas like East Melbourne (#1 in February) where the median price is $650,000 are now less popular than suburbs like Manly (#1 in September) where the median unit price is $1.19 million.
“Ultimately on the Sydney apartment side of things, those key locations are very much the type of areas where people look to downsize. It’s close to the harbour and very accessible to the inner-west. When you move out of the family home you want to move into a larger apartment and there’s a great collection of them there,” he says.
Four of the top five most in-demand areas for units – Manly, Elizabeth Bay, Drummoyne andBellevue Hill – are all close to Sydney Harbour and offer plenty of great lifestyle options such as good local bars, proximity to the water or beach and unique shops or cafes.
“For downsizers moving to ‘cheaper’ accommodation is not an attractive option,” says Conisbee who argues that this group doesn’t want to be too far from town.
More properties are expected to hit the market in the months ahead.
As most potential buyers also tend to be sellers who are looking to upgrade the family home, Mourd says the REA Group Property Demand Index shows there is strong demand in the housing market.
He predicts as spring moves into summer, more and more people will put their property on the market as they will be more confident of finding a home to buy than they have been in the lead up to spring.
“There’s no reason to sit on the sidelines at the moment. Those numbers are showing there’s still a really strong demand and ultimately the only way to meet that demand is by more homes coming on the market,” he says.
“I’d encourage anyone who is looking at the moment and isn’t sure which way to move find a trusted agent and get some advice, so you can get the security you require to sell your current home because (now) it’s a very good time in the majority of markets to do that.”
As seen on www.realestate.com.au