Canberra's property market has weathered the storm of the pandemic without a worry and the demand for houses and units has only increased since the ACT announced it was in a state of emergency in March, new data shows.
Domain's new Buyer Demand Indicator, which tracks the weekly demand for houses and units across the country, focuses on behavioural searches and pinpoints those who are most likely to purchase a home.
This class of buyers are classified by the actions they take on Domain such as shortlisting a property, sending an inquiry or completing a property inspection, among others.
According to the data, Canberra had solid growth in buyer demand since the beginning of the pandemic in March at 25.2 per cent for houses, the second strongest city after Darwin.
Units were also up at 16.7 per cent since March, also the second strongest behind Darwin. "While COVID-19-related lockdowns sent buyer demand into a state of hiatus, activity from people likely to buy has rebounded in all capital cities apart from Melbourne," said Domain senior research analyst Dr Nicola Powell.
"Buyer demand is now significantly elevated compared to last year across all capital cities apart from Melbourne."
While pandemic-related lockdowns had affected buyer activity in other capital cities, Canberra had continued to buck the downward trend, Dr Powell noted.
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But what Canberra regions are buyers looking towards? The data showed Weston Creek was top of the list in high demand, up 70.7 per cent from March. This was followed by the Inner South at 42.4 per cent and Gungahlin at 36.8 per cent.
Robert Peaker of Blackshaw Woden, Weston Creek and Molonglo attributed this to low stock levels seen in the Weston Creek region.
According to the latest Domain House Price Report for the June quarter, Weston Creek house prices had the strongest growth in the ACT year-on-year of 11.9 per cent to $765,000.
"We're definitely seeing a lot of people at our open home inspections and auctions as a result of the low stock and I would say that's also being fuelled by the low-interest rates available to buyers right now and the strong employment sector in Canberra," Mr Peaker said.
"Weston Creek has been a very attractive area for a lot of families looking for their forever homes, it's an affordable area and also offers big blocks of land. You get more bang for your buck."
With more people working from home, a house with more rooms - an extra study, perhaps - was a key checklist item for many buyers, Mr Peaker added.
When looking at the unit market, Belconnen had the highest buyer demand at 33 per cent since March, followed by the Inner South at 23.1 per cent and Gungahlin at 20.9 per cent.
Mr Peaker believes the market will continue to see this upward trend until the end of the year, noting the city's strong public sector workforce will back the property industry.
"There are people who are missing out on their dream home and are itching to get their next opportunity," he said. "We don't see any sign of this slowing down, as long as everyone is vigilant and abiding by the COVID rules."