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Surge in online activity from buyers searching in isolation

By Lexi Shepherd

Despite unprecedented lockdowns, Australia’s leading property group Ray White has experienced a 19 per cent surge in buyers clicking on its networks’ sites in total.

Consumers have been quick to adapt to life in lockdown by engaging with new digital tools and content to help shortlist properties. Searches for properties for sale and rent are also increasing.

Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White said the group as a whole “is selling more than we are  listing”.

“Listings have dropped but buyer numbers haven’t.  Life in isolation has seen a spike in online traffic from consumers interested in property, tips, agent advice and rentals,” Mr White said.

“Appraisals can be undertaken safely under Level 3 restrictions, and we have a range of safe ways for potential vendors to come to capitalise on the fact that there is little competition from other investment markets.  We know people are looking and interest rates won’t get much cheaper.

“Consumers have adapted to technology so fast, the uptake has been one of the true highlights of this incredible period. We believe this is a leading indicator to track future  demand, and so we are pleased to see this influx of  interest in our office websites.”

In the year to date, total users in the Ray White Group’s network of  760 Australian office sites rose 16 per cent to 6 million users, while total sessions have spiked up 19 per cent to 10 million. Sessions refer to overall usage of the sites by users, as some users will visit more than once.

On average the Ray White network has had 100 more potential visitors viewing a listing page based on the total viewers of the office sites.  That’s a 59 per cent increase compared to previous year.

Ray White’s data is mirrored by the leading portal – REA – which has just reported its digital inspection video views  increased 88.3 per cent in the week to April 12, compared to the first week in March, 2020.

Consumer engagement with 3D tours have increased by 285 per cent, according to REA. The leading property portal had 24.7 million property views per week in March.

According to REA, the number one “most searched’ suburb for houses in Sydney, is Castle Hill, in the Hills district.

This news was no surprise to Philip Kelly who owns Ray White Castle Hill. His team of 14 sales agents have exchanged on a record number properties in Castle Hill since March 31.

“We have experienced exceptional growth in Castle Hill. The area has always been in high demand as it’s a big suburb and it has a good range of stock across estates and more established areas. We have everything from first home buyer stock to luxury homes plus a growing unit market,” he said.

“We’re putting our own success down to our virtual auctions. We have been  fortunate as we have always been an auction market leader. We started planning on going virtual at least three weeks before the Prime Minister banned social gatherings and auctions, so we were ready. “

In fact Ray White Castle Hill sold 69 Chepstow Drive, Castle Hill for $1.310 million in a super short five  day auction campaign three weeks ago on March 31.

“There were four registrations and we sold under the hammer as one of the first online auctions. I actually think the online auctions are here to stay,” Mr Kelly said.

“We had another example at Cherrybrook where not 30 minutes before the auction a bidder was keen to register but would not have made the drive time to get to an on-site but as it was online, it was totally fine. Bidders get to stay at home and bid and buy property from their home environment.”“A lot of agents said online auctions wouldn’t work but we are proof that online auctions work.”

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