September 20 PropTrack Weekly Commercial Search Report, 2021

Searches to buy and lease property on edged higher last week.
Searches to buy and lease property on edged higher last week.

Searches to buy and lease property on edged higher last week.

Buyer searches for commercial property increased by 1.6% nationally last week, recovering from a slight fall over the week prior.

Compared to 12 months ago, buyers appear to be more optimistic about the outlook for the commercial property sector, with searches sitting 21.9% higher.

The weekly growth in buyer searches was driven by South Australia (9.7%), Western Australia (7%), and New South Wales (6.2%). In contrast, searches declined in the Australian Capital Territory (-7%) and Tasmania (-5.5%).

Comparing year-on-year, buyer searches are up in every state and territory, with the strongest growth seen in South Australia (32.4%), Queensland (29.3%), and Victoria (28.3%).

Searches to lease commercial property rose by 2.8% nationally last week, supported by particularly strong growth in New South Wales. Compared to 12 months ago, however, they were 6.7% lower.

New South Wales (10.9%) recorded the strongest growth in lease searches last week – the highest rate of growth seen since January. Western Australia and Victoria followed, at 5.5% and 2% respectively.

Compared to 12 months ago, Victoria and South Australia are the only states to have recorded positive movement in lease searches, though at 3.4% and 2.2% respectively, this growth has been modest.

The remaining states and territories have seen lease searches decline, with the largest year-on-year falls in the Northern Territory (23%), the Australian Capital Territory (-16.7%), New South Wales (-16.6%), and Tasmania (-16%).

Historically, searches to buy commercial property move closely with searches to lease. However, since the start of 2021 there has been a growing divergence between buy and lease searches, perhaps signalling a disconnect between the outlook of investors and occupiers.