July 19 REA Insights Weekly Commercial Search Report, 2021
COVID-19 restrictions in New South Wales have caused market activity to plummet, with Sydney’s decline in searches bringing the national volume down.
Across Australia, searches to buy commercial property declined by 2.2% last week, driven by an 11.7% decline in New South Wales. Compared to last year’s levels though, buyer searches remain 29.1% higher.
Buyer searches were also down in the Australian Capital Territory (-6.1%), Western Australia (-3.9%) and South Australia (-1%). In contrast, the other states saw search activity up over the week, with the strongest growth recorded in the Northern Territory (5.5%) and Tasmania (3%).
Comparing year-on-year, buyer searches are substantially higher in every state, particularly in South Australia where volumes are up 41.6%.
Searches to lease commercial property have also declined over the week, falling by 6.6% nationally. Leas searches remain 3.3% higher than last year’s levels.
Once again, New South Wales was the largest driver of the national decline in lease searches, with volumes down 17.7%. It was not the only state to see searches down, however, with only Tasmania (2.6%) and the Australian Capital Territory (0.1%) recording positive growth over the week.
Looking at how ‘for lease’ searches have fared year-on-year, there is significant variation by state. The Australian Capital Territory has been the strongest performer, with searches up by 43.1%, followed by South Australia (14.8%) and Victoria (10.5%). New South Wales (-15.6%) and Tasmania (-8%), in contrast, have seen lease searches fall.
Commercial search activity is heavily impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Recent outbreaks and subsequent lockdowns across Australia are likely to be shaking confidence in the sector. As a result, more investors and occupiers may delay buying and leasing decisions over the coming months.