Buying a home is generally one of, if not the, biggest purchase of our lives.
Doing thorough research into the property market is the first step along any home buyer’s journey. But for most of us — who have day jobs and other things to worry about in our lives — knowing where to start researching, or how to research, can be confusing and overwhelming.
The good news is you do not have to be a property mogul to get a good understanding of what is happening in the property market in your area.
We’ll run you through some helpful tools to kick start your property journey, cover some key terminology and offer some general tips to help you enter the property market with confidence.
Tools for conducting property research
Here are our favourite resources for doing some research into the property market.
Realestate.com.au is Australia’s largest property website and has an enormous amount of data at their fingertips.
Through realestate.com.au, you can easily look into a suburb’s current property prices, as well as median price trends, the number of buyers looking at the same suburb as you, median time on the market and other key metrics.
Realestate.com.au is our favourite tool for any first home buyer looking to get insights into the market, as it’s completely free, easy to use and breaks down the information in a way so anyone can look into it.
We also recommend you regularly check in with realestate.com.au’s Insights page. Insights provides news and other information about the state of the property market, and help you keep on top of what’s happening.
Domain’s suburb profile tool is another free resource that lets you look at market trends. You can search for the suburb you are interested in and pull up a suburb report that outlines recent market trends, as well as other useful information, like local schools, distance to other suburbs and more.
Onethehouse is an all-in-one real estate research site that lets you not only search for properties in your desired suburb, but also sign up to get data on market trends, recent sales in the suburb and much more! It’s a great little tool and definitely worth having a browse.
Certain banks also have free property report tools that help you get an insight into property prices and trends for certain areas.
Westpac, for example, allows you to research into specific suburbs that you may be interested in.
NAB is another example, where you can quickly search a suburb you’re interested in, and get free, high-level data on the state of the property market.
Speak to your broker
Speaking to your mortgage broker (like Arch – hi, hello!) is another invaluable resource when it comes to property market insights. After all, we make it our job to keep on top of all things property, so you don’t have to!
While we always recommend starting with your own research (nobody knows what you’re looking for like you do) we can help supplement your research with our own expertise, tools and knowledge.
If you want to get data into property markets like the pros do, there are several paid property market data outlets.
You can take a look at:
However, just keep in mind that you do not need to pay for these insights to get the upper hand. The free tools we provide you above, plus the expertise of your broker or bank should be plenty to go off.
Helpful terminology to be aware of
We all know that if the demand for property in a suburb exceeds the supply of property, prices will go up. But – there is a lot more to property markets than just demand and supply.
Here is some other helpful terminology to be aware of when conducting your research:
Demand to supply ratio (DSR)
A score out of a 100 that corresponds to the ratio of demand to supply in a certain property market. The higher the DSR, the more demand exceeds supply.
Days on market (DOM)
Days on market, as the name suggests, is the number of days a property is listed on the market before it sells.
The lower the DOM, the hotter the property market. A property with a very high DOM may indicate something about the area or property that is turning buyers away.
Ripple Effect Potential (REP)
REP is an estimate of the amount of growth needed by a certain market to match that of its neighbours.
In other words, if the surrounding suburbs of the particular market are experiencing rapid growth, chances are the market you’re looking at will grow too.
If you’re looking to buy a home in that next boom suburb – who isn’t? – then the REP is an important figure to consider.
Other general tips for researching the property market
Researching property is not a quick, one-weekend type of operation. It will generally take months of monitoring and insights. We recommend you start your research early, while you are still saving up your deposit.
Here are some other general property research tips:
Explore the neighbourhood and speak to locals
There’s nothing quite like getting some boots on the ground and exploring a suburb to get a feel for it.
If you see any locals out washing their cars or mowing their lawn, you could pop by and ask them some questions about the area, what’s changed and how they find it. No matter how much data a website has, there’s nothing quite like local knowledge.
Attend local auctions
Attending a local auction can give you some invaluable insights into what people are prepared to pay, how people bid and strategies for bidding.
Check in with local councils
Local council websites often have great information about the community, any planned or upcoming developments, any building regulation information and demographic profile of the suburb.
Checking in with these resources can help you get a feel for any potential growth in the suburb.
Immerse yourself in the property world
Start subscribing to insights from property publications and websites, follow any relevant social media accounts, and check in regularly with other news and updates.
All this information can help paint a more holistic picture of the property market and let you get a better feel for what’s happening and what’s just around the corner.