Commercial Property Snapshot, September 2021
Ongoing lockdowns in multiple capital cities has taken a toll on Australia’s commercial property market. Data from realcommercial.com.au shows the leasing sector has been particularly impacted, with searches for properties to lease falling further in August.
While demand to buy commercial real estate slowed in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory, there were bright spots in areas not impacted by lockdowns. South Australia, by contrast, recorded a record-high volume of buyer searches in August..
In this month’s commercial snapshot, we continue to track search volumes over time and demand by category. We also provide a view of user behaviour by analysing the most-searched keywords per asset class as well as looking at the most popular commercial property listings for the month.
How are search volumes tracking?
August saw a 4% dip in national buyer searches compared to the month prior, as recorded on realcommercial.com.au. Despite the dip, buyer searches are only 5% lower than the peak seen in March 2021 and remain 25% higher than this time last year.
South Australia recorded a month-on-month increase of 2% to reach a new record high. All other states saw a drop in searches.
The largest month-on-month drops in searches were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (17%), New South Wales (8%) and Victoria (7%) – an unsurprising consequence of lockdowns.
This effect was more pronounced in the leasing category, with searches down 10% over the month. The largest drops were recorded in the same three areas: Australian Capital Territory (-28%), New South Wales (-16%) and Victoria (-12%).
Nationally, lease searches are now 3% lower than what they were last year.
Interestingly, Victoria’s current lockdown has not affected demand to lease property as much as was seen in August 2020. In fact, lease searches are up 22% year-on-year.
Looking at category specific searches for ‘Buy’ listings, offices performed the best in August compared to the same time last year, up by 90%, followed by the medical/consulting category (73%).
Demand for commercial farming has tapered off relative to last year, with its growth being the lowest of the categories.
In the ‘Lease’ sector, the land/development category has recorded the highest year-on-year growth in the past two months, while the hotel/leisure (-2%) and retail (-1%) categories have seen a decrease in searches.
What are people and businesses looking to buy?
The commercial farming sector recorded the largest month-on-month increase in views per listing, up by 10%.
The growth was the strongest in New South Wales, followed by Queensland.
Retail recorded the largest month-on-month drop of 12% in August, with decreases across all states bar South Australia (1%) and Western Australia (0%).
What are people and businesses looking to lease?
In the ‘Lease’ category, all sectors recorded a month-on-month fall in views per listing, with land/development (-14%) and hotel/leisure (-12%) listings showing the largest decrease.
The hotel/leisure category also recorded a year-on-year decrease of 4%, which can be attributed to the decline in South Australia (-24%), New South Wales (-10%) and Western Australia (-4%).
Conversely, both warehouses and showrooms recorded bullish year-on-year growth of 40%.
What are the features that people and businesses are looking for?
In this month’s analysis of most-searched keywords, we saw the popularity of ‘freehold’ listings grow. Present in searches across all categories except for warehouses, the keyword has jumped up two places in the office category and one spot in the land/development sector.
Freehold properties have been particularly important for property seekers searching for hotel/leisure listings and commercial farms, as the keyword is the second and third most used keyword in those categories respectively.
What have been the most popular commercial listings?
See the top 10 most viewed commercial listings nationally and in each state below.
The most viewed listing in August was the rustic Old Clarendon Winery which overlooks the Onkaparinga River and Clarendon Valley. The property comes with 25 apartments as well as office, function, and outdoor entertaining space.