October 26th REA Insights Weekly Commercial Search Report, 2020

Commercial search volumes continued to climb last week. 

The latest weekly data for searches for properties for sale saw a 1.4 per cent increase, which was the second consecutive weekly rise but a much smaller rise than the 7.7 per cent over the previous week.

Tasmania was the only state in which for sale search volumes fell last week (-4.8%) while the largest increases were recorded in Australian Capital Territory (8.3%) and Queensland (5.9%).

Weekly for sale searches set a new historic high last week following their 1.4 per cent weekly increase.

For sale searches were at a record-high last week in New South Wales, South Australia and Northern Territory while the largest overall declines have been recorded in Tasmania (-12.7%) and Victoria (-3.4%).

Search activity for commercial properties for sale is significantly higher than a year ago, up 26.3 per cent last week and higher across all states.

The smallest year-on-year increases in for sale searches have been recorded in Victoria (14.4%) and New South Wales (22.7%) and the largest in Australian Capital Territory (94.6%) and Northern Territory (81.4%).

Lease search volumes also increased last week for the second consecutive week, up 1.3 per cent compared to a 7.2 per cent rise the previous week.

Lease search volumes fell last week in Western Australia (-4.0%), Tasmania (-9.9%) and Northern Territory (-2.8%) but rose elsewhere with the largest rises recorded in Queensland (4.8%) and Victoria (3.8%).

With the recent weekly rises in lease search volumes, last week’s volumes were just -3.9 per cent lower than their historic high.

Queensland is the only state in which lease search volumes were at an historic high however, they are close in South Australia (-1.5%) while they are relatively much further away in Tasmania (-21.6%) and Australian Capital Territory (-17.1%).

Last week’s lease search volumes were 34.5 per cent higher than they were at the same time last year and higher across each state.

Australian Capital Territory (15.6%) and Western Australia (17.8%) have recorded the smallest year-on-year increases in lease searches while South Australia (39.9%) and Queensland (33.6%) have recorded the largest increases.

As businesses continue returning to greater capacity, Melbourne re-opens and government support is removed I expect that businesses will be seeking out new, more affordable and more appropriate accommodation.

On the other hand, some businesses will undoubtedly be looking for expansion opportunities off the back of the Federal Government’s Budget.

Given this I anticipate that commercial search volumes are likely to remain elevated over the coming weeks and months.