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Low property stock levels drive markets in Australia

Australia’s property market is facing a significant challenge: a notable decline in property stock levels. According to recent data, the number of homes available for purchase or rent has drastically decreased, intensifying the housing crisis. Treasury officials emphasize that this shortage makes it increasingly difficult for individuals to find suitable properties.

The total value of residential dwellings in Australia has risen dramatically, and this surge is partly due to the low stock levels. Meanwhile, housing prices continue to escalate, as highlighted by the Australian Property Market analysis which reveals a high price-to-rent ratio, adjusted for inflation.

Total value of dwelling stock Australia

Source:, Five numbers that explain the current property market19 June 2024.

Why Lower Property Stock Listings Lead to Price Increases

The fundamental principle of supply and demand is at the heart of the relationship between property stock levels and prices. When the supply of properties is low and demand remains constant or increases, prices tend to rise. Here are ten detailed bullet points expanding on the exact reasons for these price increases:

  • Increased Competition Among Buyers: With fewer properties available, more buyers compete for the same listings, driving up prices as they outbid each other.
  • Perceived Scarcity: The perception of a limited supply can lead to a sense of urgency among buyers, causing them to make higher offers quickly to secure a property.
  • Investor Activity: Investors often see low stock levels as an opportunity to acquire properties, anticipating future price growth. This added demand from investors further inflates prices.
  • Higher Demand for Rentals: Low property stock levels not only affect buyers but also renters. As fewer homes are available, rental demand increases, pushing rental prices higher, which in turn attracts more investors to the market.
  • Construction Delays and Costs: Increased construction costs and delays in building new homes exacerbate the shortage, keeping supply low and prices high.
  • Interest Rates Impact: While interest rates influence borrowing costs, their impact on demand can magnify the effect of low stock levels. Lower interest rates make borrowing cheaper, increasing demand, while high rates can restrict new builds, both scenarios supporting price hikes.
  • Urbanization Trends: Migration to cities where jobs and amenities are concentrated increases urban housing demand. If urban property stock cannot keep pace with this influx, prices in these areas surge.
  • Regulatory and Zoning Restrictions: Regulations and zoning laws can limit the development of new properties, keeping supply restricted and contributing to higher prices.
  • Foreign Investment: In some markets, foreign buyers contribute significantly to demand. If they continue to purchase properties in areas with low stock levels, this can further drive up prices.
  • Psychological Factors: Market psychology plays a role; when buyers believe that prices will continue to rise due to low stock, they may be willing to pay more now to avoid higher costs later, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In conclusion, the current low property stock levels in Australia are a critical factor driving up housing prices. Understanding the dynamics behind this trend is essential for potential buyers, investors, and policymakers aiming to address the ongoing housing crisis. By acknowledging the interplay of supply and demand, market perceptions, and regulatory influences, stakeholders can better navigate and respond to these market conditions.

Image credit: DepositPhotos


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