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Media Release

Bigger backyards, safer suburbs and proximity to supermarkets – what home buyers want now

Thursday, 22 April 2021

South Australian consumers and businesses are feeling more confident and poised to invest in property as the economy recovers following the impact of COVID-19, according to BankSA research.

The research found 38 per cent of consumers considered 2021 to be a good time to buy property, with 10 per cent intending to buy, 20 per cent intending to upgrade, and 15 per cent intending to re-mortgage their home or property in the next 12 months.

BankSA State General Manager Business Banking, David Firth, said consumers were attributing the timing to low interest rates and building their future post-pandemic as their main reasons why.

“Reflecting changing preferences post-COVID-19, as more people work flexibly and value space at home, 68 per cent of those intending to buy preferred properties with land for a garden or an outdoor area for children or pets.

“Additionally, 66 per cent want a property in a safe suburb with good capital growth and nice streetscaping, and 65 per cent prioritised proximity to services including public transport, medical services and supermarkets.”

He said many South Australians had also improved their debt position because they had controlled spending in 2020.

“At the onset of COVID-19 people were extremely cautious with their finances, not knowing what was ahead,” Mr Firth said.

“Now that many people are back at work, they’re ready to plan for the future.”

This was reflected in business respondents also, with a quarter of businesses indicating they planned to upgrade their existing premises within the next 12 months and eight per cent intending to purchase property.

More than a third (38 per cent) of businesses had more cash saved in the bank compared to 12 months ago, and 23 per cent had lower levels of debt - compared to 18 per cent with higher levels of debt, and 53 per cent recording no change.

Overall, 41 per cent of South Australian businesses had improved their financial position, compared to 27 per cent which had declined.

The report found 57 per cent of South Australian businesses owned property, with ownership highest among regional business, micro businesses and larger businesses. Additionally, 24 per cent planned to upgrade the existing site they operated from and eight per cent intend to purchase property.

Mr Firth said 54 per cent were also planning to invest in retraining staff. “Business owners were cautious last year, and many put training and facility upgrades on hold, however with the economy recovering, it’s encouraging to see increased confidence translating into plans to invest on infrastructure improvements and upgrading premises.”

For business owners, 42 per cent considered 2021 a good time to invest in property, with 68 per cent of those saying it was time to build for the future after COVID-19. Low interest rates were a significant factor for 67 per cent of business owners, and 62 per cent were confident volatile times would come to an end.

Their investment priorities included investing in new buildings, renovations, improvements and additions, and the maintenance and servicing they had put on hold.

“This is another good indicator that South Australian business is poised to take advantage of the positive investment environment, with government stimulus providing an opportunity for many businesses to manage their debt, keep staff employed and focus on improving cash flow.”

However, Mr Firth emphasised that some sectors were still doing it tough. This includes parts of the tourism and hospitality sectors which are reliant on open state and national borders, along with wine and associated industries impacted by changes in tariffs.