Confidence in Australia’s property market has plummeted to levels close to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to research by comparison website Finder.
Finder analysed data collected from more than 24,000 survey respondents to uncover its Property Positivity Index.
The index, which was at 67 per cent just six months ago, now sits at 49 per cent, only minimally higher than the pandemic low of 42 per cent in April last year.
Finder’s head of consumer research, Graham Cooke, said property confidence had been a rollercoaster during the past 12 months.
“As lockdowns rolled out across Australia and open house inspections declined, Finder’s Property Positivity Index nosedived, only to recover again as the housing market sprang back to life,” he said.
“Both the rock-bottom cash rate and FOMO (fear of missing out) have turbocharged prices, but fears of a property bubble are making many Aussies pessimistic that now is the time to buy.”
However, 74 per cent of respondents still felt property prices in their suburb would continue to rise during the next 12 months.
A group of 16 experts and economists from Finder’s RBA Cash Rate Survey were asked to analyse some of the results from the survey.
The panellists were torn on whether first-time buyers who had saved a deposit would miss an affordability window if they did not purchase within the next year.
Nine of the 16 experts said first home buyers would miss out while the remaining seven said they would not.
Dale Gillham, stock market analyst from Wealth Within, said first home buyers should not be worried.
“I have never seen a time when we thought property was cheap for anyone, let alone first-time buyers,” he said.
Rebecca Cassells of Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre said buyers could miss a window if they don’t pull the trigger within the next year.
“Increased house prices driven by significant stimulus and low interest rate environment has the potential to lock out future first home buyers by making it even harder to come up with the deposit needed to enter the market,” she said.