August 2 REA Insights Weekly Commercial Search Report, 2021
Searches to buy and lease commercial property have slowed for the third week running.
‘For sale’ searches on realcommercial.com.au fell by 4.3% last week, with declines recorded across most states and territories. Despite the fall, demand to buy commercial property remains well up from last year, with searches sitting 24.9% higher.
Tasmania recorded the largest declines in ‘for sale’ searches last week, down by 11.5%, followed by Victoria (-9.6%) and New South Wales (-7.3%). In contrast, South Australia, which had seen search activity plummet during its snap lockdown, bounced back last week, with searches up 7%.
Comparing year-on-year, growth in searches to buy commercial property has been strongest in the Northern Territory (37.5%), Queensland (33.1%) and Victoria (31.2%).
‘For lease’ searches were also down across most states and territories last week, driving a national decline of 0.8%. Compared to 12 months ago, lease searches are now 2.2% lower.
Movement in ‘for lease’ searches has been mixed across the states over the last 12 months and is closely aligned with the level of COVID-19 restrictions.
Victoria, for example, which was in a strict lockdown during the same period last year has seen the strongest growth in lease searches, up 13.5%. New South Wales, in contrast, has seen its current lockdown drive searches 30% below last year’s levels.
Using Victoria’s experience during its second lockdown of 2020 as a template for New South Wales, search volumes are expected to remain subdued until the lockdown eases. Leasing activity, in particular, is unlikely to regain momentum in New South Wales until businesses are able to operate with fewer restrictions.