Australian homebuyers and renters are increasingly searching for homes despite the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a report from REA Group.
Cameron Kusher, executive manager at REA Group, said search activity on realestate.com.au has surged over the past week and is considerably higher than last year.
"Buyer search activity was higher week-on-week across all states and territories, with the greatest increases recorded in Victoria and New South Wales, while the most moderate increases were in the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland," he said.
Search activity for rental properties also increased, particularly in New South Wales and Victoria.
Kusher said the increased searching activity is a good sign for property sellers and landlords, even if it might not necessarily translate into a sale or a rental agreement.
"Although fewer new properties continue to come to the market, Australians remain extremely interested in residential property throughout COVID-19. Search activity for properties up for sale and rent remains high and continues to trend higher," Kusher said.
Real estate agents at Raine & Horne said some markets continue to see activity from "motivated buyers".
Sydney's eastern suburbs were amongst the housing markets that remained active amid the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19, said Paul Spanoudakis, principal at Raine & Horne Maroubra.
"There are people who have preapproved mortgages and are motivated to buy now. It's a great time for these people to buy with interest rates at historic lows," he said.
In the south-western suburbs of Adelaide, sales this month have already surpassed March figures, said John Cullen, principal of Raine & Horne Kurralta Park.
"Buyer numbers are still strong, and there are plenty around who have finance in place looking to make a move," he said.
Cullen said sellers are more likely to attract buyers if they are flexible with their asking prices.
"If properties are priced to sell by their vendors, then they are selling. If vendors are sticking to pre-COVID prices, then they won't sell. In this situation, the experienced real estate agents are sheltering their vendors from opportunist buyers who are making these significant lowball offers," he said.