June 21 REA Insights Weekly Commercial Search Report, 2021
Searches to buy and lease commercial property slowed across most states and territories last week as the end of financial year approaches.
The volume of searches to buy commercial property decreased by 2.6% last week, with a fall in searches recorded in every state except for the Australian Capital Territory. Despite the decline, buy searches remain well up from last year’s levels, sitting 21.9% higher.
The Northern Territory and South Australia saw the largest decline in buy searches over the week, falling by 14.6% and 9.2% respectively. In contrast to the other states, the Australian Capital Territory saw a slight rise in buy searches last week, up 0.9%.
Compared to 12 months ago, however, the number of searches to buy commercial property is more than 10% higher in five out of the eight states and territories. The strongest year-on-year growth has been in the Northern Territory (27.9%), South Australia (18%) and Victoria (14.5%).
Searches to lease commercial property also recorded a 2.6% fall last week. Again, the Australian Capital Territory was the only location to record a rise in searches. Compared to 12 months ago, the volume of lease searches is 4.4% lower.
The largest declines in lease searches were seen in Tasmania and New South Wales, where volumes were down 14.8% and 10.6% over the week. The Australian Capital Territory, in contrast, saw weekly lease searches up 3.6%.
The Australian Capital Territory has also seen the strongest rise in lease searches when comparing year-on-year, up 16.1%. South Australia is the only other state in which lease searches are not below last year’s levels, remaining steady with just 0.2% growth.
While the volume of lease searches has been trending downwards since the start of 2021, this was the first week in which the year-on-year growth in national lease searches was negative. Driving the decline has been the retail sector, which has seen the largest decline in lease searches since the start of the year.
The retail sector was among the hardest hit by COVID-19 lockdowns, and the decline in searches to lease retail property is further evidence of the challenges this sector continues to face.