Demand for Melbourne properties has soared due to a “self-fulfilling” prophecy in which homeowners are unwilling to list out of fear of not being able to secure new digs themselves.
Experts say the crippling mindset has kept housing stock levels low for months, despite compelling evidence the city has once again become a seller’s market.
“Buyers are back,” REA Group director of economic research Cameron Kusher said.
“The missing ingredient at the moment is people who are willing to list their properties for sale.”
Richmond is at the top of househunters’ wishlists, being the most-searched Melbourne suburb for houses and units combined on realestate.com.au over the past year.
It’s followed by Melbourne (postcode 3000), Berwick, South Yarra, Sunbury, Brighton, Point Cook and Pakenham.
Homes in Watsonia are also in high demand, racking up an average of 8526 views per listing at January 31 — a dramatic rise from 3836 a year prior.
Mr Kusher said the northeastern suburb’s “easy access to public transport, … large lot sizes and properties priced under $1 million” made it “an appealing choice”.
Middle Park houses and units attracted an average of 7104 views on realestate.com.au, up from 5439 over the year, while the figure jumped from 4158 to 6878 for Carlton North, 2342 to 6331 for Upper Ferntree Gully, and 1873 to 6206 for Aberfeldie.
Mr Kusher said listings in little-known Bend of Islands were also attracting 5987 views on average by “catering to different price points with a variety of housing types, (including) many environmentally-conscious mud-brick homes on large unfenced areas of land”.
He noted buyer demand across greater Melbourne spiked almost immediately after May’s federal election and had steadily increased since.
“People have been able to borrow more, and more easily than they could 12 months ago because APRA (the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) eased off on their serviceability limits,” Mr Kusher said.
“And we’ve had four interest rate cuts, so the cost of borrowing is cheaper.”
William Huxley sales director Craig Nichol said Richmond was “buzzing” with would-be buyers, with its closeness to the city, the MCG and sporting precinct, the Yarra River and “cool bars and restaurants” driving its popularity.
The fact buyers had little to choose from, with limited housing hitting the market, had also amped up competition for listings.
“Supply is continuing to stay low because people aren’t confident they can buy something — that’s really self-fulfilling,” he said.
4. South Yarra
7. Point Cook
MOST VIEWS PER LISTING
1. Watsonia: 8526 views per listing
2. Middle Park: 7104
3. Carlton North: 6878
4. Upper Ferntree Gully: 6331
5. Aberfeldie: 6206
6. Dingley Village: 6004
7. Seddon: 5995
8. Bend of Islands: 5987
9. Mitcham: 5970
10. Croydon South: 5915
Source: realestate.com.au, at January 31, for both houses and units