The coronavirus crisis certainly impacted the housing market throughout 2020, but towards the end of the year homes were selling and renting faster than they were at the end of 2019 in most states and territories.
The average number of days on site for properties that sold in December 2020 was 44 days compared to 51 days in December 2019, according to new data from realestate.com.au.
The average days on site typically spikes in January each year, but outside that period in 2020 the number reached a high of 71 days in June and has been trending lower ever since.
Days on site for properties sold in December 2020 was shortest in the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales and Victoria, and longest in the Northern Territory , Western Australia and Queensland.
Properties listed in NSW, Victoria and the ACT have tended to sell faster than anywhere else in the country over the past several years, while properties in Queensland , WA and the NT have spent the longest time on the market.
While the time it takes to sell a home is likely to rise this month, the momentum seen over the second half of 2020 will likely continue for at least the first half of 2021.
While property sales are showing no signs of slowing down, days on site for rental properties has also dropped over the past year, down from an average of 25 days in December 2019 to 23 days in December 2020.
It should be noted that the national figure is heavily influenced by NSW and Victoria where rental days on site is much higher than elsewhere.
The shortest average number of days on site for rental listing s was in Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT. T he longest number of days on site was in Victoria and NSW – the two states most heavily impacted by the health crisis and closed international borders.
Over recent years, rental properties in NSW, WA and the NT have consistently taken longer to lease compared to other states. While days on site has fallen sharply in WA and the NT it has remained elevated in NSW and climbed in Victoria.
The popular narrative is that the rental market is very challenging now because of shut international borders reducing demand, however the data suggests those challenges are location specific as conditions are strong elsewhere.
Early 2021 will be the real litmus test for rental markets, with tenants looking for new leases while landlords seek to keep their current tenants or capture new ones.
Depending on how this plays out there may be an increase in days on site for rental properties in early 2021, but it is difficult to predict exactly how days on site will fare thereafter.