Property market outlook: August 2021

While property prices have continued to rise in July, lockdowns across several states have impacted the rate of growth, with affected cities to slow further in the coming months.

But while lockdowns create challenges for the market, the low volume of stock available for sale and ongoing strength in buyer demand is supporting prices.

Several key metrics measured by show a strong residential property market, albeit slightly weaker than the peaks recorded around Easter. Buyer demand, weekly searches and weekly sales volumes have fallen around 10% from their peak.

While some of this may be seasonal, there are signs that price growth may have peaked. Given the lockdowns are impacting usual market activity, the upcoming spring selling season will be an important indicator for the current state of demand.

Market Overview

Recent economic data has been broadly positive, however the lockdowns in July and August – and likely beyond – will undoubtedly have some impact on the recovery over the coming months.

The latest lending data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed total loan commitments, including refinancing activity, rose to a new historic high of $48.3 billion in June. The result was driven by refinancing and investor lending, as owner-occupier and first-home loan commitments eased during the month.

Investor lending has now well and truly overtaken first home buyer lending, which has trended lower since peaking in January 2021. However, owner-occupiers still remain the biggest source of lending.

The pandemic has resulted in fewer people moving to larger capital cities, and there has been a lot more movement to some of the less populous states and regional areas.

Internal migration data by the ABS, released this month, showed that over the year to March 2021, Victoria recorded the largest net loss of residents moving to other states and territories on record. At the same time, Queensland welcomed the most residents from other states and territories since March 2005. South Australia recorded its largest net inflow since 2002, and Western Australia has seen its largest inflow since September 2013.

Where to from here

While sales volumes have drifted lower over recent months and the falls are being exacerbated by lockdowns, this doesn’t appear to be dampening demand.

Search activity on showed the average number of views per property listed for sale remains close to historic levels, so if anything, the reason for declining sales comes down to a lack of supply. These conditions will likely lead to further price increases over the coming months, even if the rate of price growth slows.

Of course, the usually busy spring season is just around the corner, so conditions will vary depending on whether an area is in or out of lockdown. In lockdown-free areas, I would expect a lift in supply of stock for sale, while the beginning of the selling season will be delayed in locked-down regions.

Overall, prices are expected to continue to rise as demand outweighs supply however the rate of price growth has likely peaked.

How property is faring around the country

Let’s look at how market conditions are faring throughout the states and territories.

New South Wales 

Property prices have continued to rise in Sydney and the regions in July however lockdowns have caused growth to slow in the capital city. Monthly price growth in Greater Sydney was less than half that of regional NSW.

Sales volumes

Weekly preliminary sales volumes in Sydney recorded only marginal declines in July and still remain 55.5% higher than a year ago. In regional areas, sales volumes are 44.2% higher year-on-year.

Sydney’s inner west and south west regions have recorded the largest increase in sales this year, while in regional areas cumulative weekly sales have more than doubled over the year in New England and north west NSW.

Days on site

Despite the lockdown there was only a small increase in the number of days a Sydney property was listed on site before selling in July, climbing 2 days to 28 days. In regional NSW, the number of days on site was unchanged at 36 days.

Across Greater Sydney, properties in the Northern Beaches and Sutherland were on site for the fewest number of days, at 19 days and 23 days respectively. In regional NSW, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie (26 days) and the Illawarra (28 days) recorded the least days on site.

Views per listing

 A typical property advertised for sale in NSW on during July 2021 received an average of 2,082 views, up 1.5% over the month and 43.9% higher year-on-year.

In Greater Sydney, the Northern Beaches and Sutherland recorded the most views per listing, while outer south west suburbs and the Central Coast recorded the largest year-on-year growth.

In regional NSW, properties for sale in the Illawarra, and Newcastle and Lake Macquarie recorded the most views, while views per listing have more than doubled across the Mid North Coast (159.6%), Hunter Valley excluding Newcastle (128.8%), Capital Region (117.9%), New England and North West (107.7%), Coffs Harbour-Grafton (105.8%) and Far West and Orana (102.5%), compared to the same month a year ago.


Lockdowns have led to a slowing of property price growth in Melbourne throughout July. Prices have still risen, albeit at less than a third of the pace of price growth in regional Victoria.

Sales volumes

There has been a substantial drop in preliminary weekly sales in Melbourne due to lockdowns, with sales last week the lowest they’ve been since mid-February. In regional Victoria, weekly sales have drifted lower however, the decline has not been as dramatic as the capital.

So far this year, there has been 76.1% more weekly sales in Melbourne relative to the same period last year, driven by inner east and western suburbs.

Sales volumes are 38.1% higher in regional Victoria year-on-year, with Ballarat and the Latrobe and Gippsland regions recording the largest increases.

Days on site

Although there was a lockdown in place in Melbourne during July, the median number of days a property was listed on site fell over the month, from 35 days in June to 30 days in July. In regional areas, the number of days on site was unchanged over the month at 42 days.

Properties are selling the fastest in Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsular (25 days on site), while in regional Victoria, properties in Geelong were on site for the least amount of time, at 29 days.

Views per listing

In July 2021, the typical property advertised for sale on in Victoria received 2059 views on average, which was 1.4% higher over the month and 34.9% higher year-on-year.

In Melbourne, properties in the Mornington Peninsula and outer east received the most views per listing during the month. In regional Victoria, Geelong and Ballarat homes recorded the most views.


Property prices in both Brisbane and regional Queensland continued to climb in July however, growth was moderate. Growth in the regions slightly outpaced the capital city.

Sales volumes

Preliminary weekly sales volumes in Brisbane have been steady for several months now and remain only slightly below their pre-Easter peak. Sales in regional areas are also marginally lower than the peak earlier this year.

Brisbane has recorded 49.4% more weekly sales so far this year compared to a year ago, while in regional areas sales have lifted by 66.6%.

Ipswich and Brisbane’s west recorded the largest year-on-year growth across the capital, while in regional Queensland, sales have more than doubled in the Darling Downs and Maranoa regions.

Days on site

In Brisbane, properties were listed on site for an average of 47 days, up from 39 days in June 2021. regional Queensland increased from 55 days in June to 57 days in July.

Properties in Brisbane’s north region were on site for the fewest number of days, at 38. Outside of Brisbane, properties in the Sunshine Coast (41 days) and the Gold Coast (44 days) recorded the fewest days on site.

Views per listing

Properties advertised for sale across Queensland recorded an average of 1,444 views during July, up 12.9% compared to June and 69.1% higher than in the same month a year ago.

In the capital city, suburbs in the west and south regions were neck-and-neck for the highest number of views, while Ipswich and Moreton Bay’s south recorded the largest year-on-year growth.

The Gold and Sunshine Coast recorded more views than other regional areas, while the biggest year-on-year growth was recorded in Wide Bay (104.4%) and Cairns (99.4%).

South Australia

Prices continued to rise in July in Adelaide and the regions, however the rate of price growth slowed.

Sales volumes

Preliminary sales volumes across the state have dropped in recent weeks, which is likely due to the state’s snap lockdown. Despite the recent fall, Adelaide has recorded 42.8% more preliminary weekly sales so far this year, compared to the same period last year, while regional sales are 52.8% higher than a year ago.

Adelaide’s central and hills suburbs have seen the largest year-on-year growth in sales, while in regional parts of the state, the Barossa, Yorke and mid north region rose the most.

Days on site

There was a slight increase in median days on site in Adelaide during July 2021, lifting from 34 days in June to 37 days. However, the regions fell to a historic low of 87 days, down from 90 days in June.

Across Adelaide, properties in southern and western suburbs were listed on site for the shortest amount of time, at 31 and 32 days respectively. South Australia’s south east region recorded the lowest days on site outside of Adelaide, at 71 days.

Views per listing

The average views per listing for a property listed for sale throughout SA in July was 1,635 views, which was a 3.8% increase month-on-month and a 47.2% increase year-on-year.

Adelaide’s south and west had the highest median views per listing while South Australia’s south east and the Barossa, Yorke and North regions were highest outside the capital city.

Western Australia

The rate of property price growth has slowed in WA. While both Perth and the regions did record increases over the month of July 2021, the gains were marginal.

Sales volumes

While most other states experienced a drop-off in sales post-Easter, weekly preliminary sales in Perth and regional WA in July remained close to the highs they’ve been recording over recent months.

So far this year, cumulative preliminary weekly sales in Perth are 65.0% higher than they were a year ago and in regional WA they are 84.7% higher.

In Perth, the south west and south east suburbs recorded the largest year-on-year increases in sales, while cumulative sales in regional areas have more than doubled over the year in both the southern outback region and the Wheatbelt.

Days on site

A Perth property that sold in July 2021 was typically on site for 64 days, up from 57 days over the previous month. In regional WA, properties were typically on site for 95 days before they sold, only slightly higher than the 94 days the previous month.

Properties across the capital city are selling quickest in the north west and south east, while in regional WA properties are spending the shortest time on site in the northern outback region and Bunbury.

Views per listing

Properties listed for sales throughout WA in July typically received an average of 793 views, which was 7.9% higher over the month and 24.5% higher year-on-year.

Inner and north west suburbs had the most views across Perth, while outside the capital city, properties in Bunbury and the northern outback region received the most views.


Property prices continued to rise throughout the state in July, with both Hobart and regional Tasmania recording price increases in excess of 1% for the month.

Sales volumes

Weekly preliminary sales volumes have been trending lower in recent months. On a weekly basis, transaction volumes are currently similar to those recorded at the same time last year.

In July, sales volumes were 22.9% higher than a year earlier in Hobart, and 33.0% higher in regional Tasmania.

Days on site

In Hobart, properties that sold in July had been listed on for an average of 23 days, which was an historic low, and down from 26 days in June. Regional Tasmania also hit a record-low of 41 days, down from 46 days the previous month.

Views per listing

The lack of supply of housing for sale and strong demand has pushed the number of views per listing up by 10.6% over the month to a record 2,967 views, which was 84.5% higher than a year ago.

Hobart and Tasmania’s south east recorded the highest number of views per listing. Views per listing have doubled year-on-year in Launceston.

Northern Territory

Prices in Darwin continued to rise rapidly during July, while growth stalled in regional areas.

Sales volumes

Weekly preliminary sales volumes are low across the Northern Territory and lead to volatility, however sales in both Darwin and the regions are trending fairly steady despite these week-to-week fluctuations.

So far this year there have been 51.1% more preliminary sales than over the same period last year in Darwin and 201.3% more sales than last year in regional NT.

Days on site 

The median days on site for properties sold in Darwin rose from 45 days in June 2021 to 57 days in July.

In regional areas, the number of days on site fell from 135 days in June 2021 to 93 days in July 2021, the lowest it has been since December 2019.

Views per listing

There was a 19.8% fall in the number of views per listing during July to 612 views, although it was still 21.9% higher than a year earlier.

Properties listed for sale in Darwin had around 3.5 times more views than those in regional areas during the month, while the year-on-year growth was only marginally higher in the capital city.


Property prices in Canberra continued to rise in July however, the monthly rate of price growth has slowed.

Sales volumes

Preliminary weekly sales continue to drift lower in Canberra and, on a weekly basis, are close to volumes seen at the same time last year.

Despite the recent weakening of sales, so far this year there have been 27.1% more sales compared to the same period last year.

Days on site

Although sales volumes have dropped, in Canberra the typical number of days a property was listed on that sold in July fell to an equal historic-low of 24 days in July, from 25 days in June 2021

Views per listing

The lack of sales in Canberra seems to be more of a supply issue than a demand one, with the number of views per listing hitting an historic high of 1,851 views in July 2021, up 10.8% over the month and 48.8% year-on-year.

Originally published as: REA Insights Property Market Outlook – August 2021.