Buyers continue to purchase ‘sight unseen’


As many as one in four buyers are still inspecting property outside the state they live in, a trend that’s showing “no signs of slowing”, according to a new survey.

July’s Sight Unseen report, released by virtual tours platform Little Hinges, showed that interstate inspections continue to make up more than a quarter (27 per cent) of all property inspections around Australia.

It was a trend that picked up during the pandemic, with parts of Australia in lockdown, which led to digital improvements such as virtual tours assisting many Australians to purchase properties remotely.

While at the peak of the pandemic, many of those buyers were exiting the capital in hard lockdown and flocking to the regions, there have been signs of migration back to the major centers, using virtual inspections.

The Little Hinges report analyzed over 200,000 virtual inspections for the Sight Unseen report, and found interstate inspections for Sydney and Melbourne had lifted 4 per cent in July.

Across the rest of the country, the number of buyers inspecting property on the Gold Coast also continued to increase, up 7 per cent in July.

Interestingly, almost half of all virtual property inspections being done on the Gold Coast are from potential buyers living outside of the “Sunshine State.”

Similar results can be found in the latest Regional Movers Index by the Commonwealth Bank, which showed the overall volume of people moving from major cities had dropped 35 per cent since the March quarter, revealing that regional people have “resumed their migration” back to the capital cities.

Given the regional migration and property boom over the past two years, hotspots such as Tasmania had seen an influx of new arrivals, which Derwent Finance broker Emmanuel Marios said hasn’t slowed down.

“The hotspot Tasmania has seen renewed interest since the pandemic and a property price boom, much like the rest of regional Australia, mr Marios said.

“The biggest problem has been in local and international and mainland investors purchasing properties $100,000 to $200,000 over asking price at an unconditional offer and settlement of 30 days.

“It’s been really, really hard to have clients to secure properties, because obviously you want to make sure theyve got finance scores, they understand the process, and its not overwhelming for them.”

He explained having those purchases in place has been pushing the market significantly for the past three to four years and does not see signs of slowing down.

Property values ​​drop, drive renewed interest

Little Hinges co-founder and chief executive Josh Callaghan said the recent announcements of house prices falling are likely driving the renewed interest in property purchases.

“We haven’t seen any drop in the number of interstate inspections since January, showing that the trend of buyers shopping outside their home state is here to stay,” Mr Callaghan said.

“We are continuing to see the number of people who are looking to move to Queensland remains high, with one in three virtual inspections across the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane being conducted from interstate.

In addition, the number of interstate inspections in Sydney was now sitting at 13.1 per cent, up from “single digits at the beginning of the year”, he said.

“It’s a similar story in Melbourne, with almost 18 per cent of virtual inspections now being conducted from outside of Victoria,” Mr. Callaghan said.

Little Hinges is a virtual tours provider that launched in 2020 combining Matterport 3D technology and insights to help over 3 million people inspect properties digitally.

[Related: Economic headwinds drive regional property values down]

Buyers continue to purchase ‘sight unseen’

mortgage business

Last Updated: 31 August 2022

Published: 01 September 2022

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