Report: COVID-19 changes off-the-plan property buying behaviour

Report: COVID-19 changes off-the-plan property buying behaviour
Olivia RoundMarch 19, 2020

As more Australians are venturing into self-isolation and social distancing during this tough time as a result of has noticed a 52% increase in visits to its off-the-plan property listings over the past week.

With fewer people leaving their homes, seeing billboards and visiting display suites, we expect to see more of the buying journey for off-the-plan property occur online.

Report: COVID-19 changes off-the-plan property buying behaviour
Week on week comparison of project listing views. Source:

Anecdotal feedback from agents within the industry suggests that walk-in traffic into display suites has reduced considerably, however, buyers who are still taking tours of display suites, are doing so safely and responsibly, and are more likely to be serious buyers. Consequently, a steady number of sales and reservations are still being made.  

The effects of social distancing are likely to impact traditional out of home advertising (billboards, display suite signage), creating greater importance for the industry to adapt and transition their focus to enabling their online property buying journey.

Earlier this week Ooh!media (one of the country’s largest out of home advertising companies) abandoned their earnings guidance as a result of the decline in campaign spending, and ability to generate customers for their clients. Ooh!media released a statement explaining why the company has withdrawn its 2020 earnings guidance, “for the time being”.

“The deteriorating macroeconomic conditions and resultant market uncertainty caused by COVID-19 has made forecasting full-year revenue in the current environment difficult," 

Ad News Australia weighed in on the issue commenting that media streaming services are likely to experience an increase in traffic. 

“Much of the call to action billboard advertising, such as attending an event or going to a sale, is fast becoming redundant as consumers stay at home with streaming media services running hot.” is seeing parallels in the off-the-plan market, with the average number of listings visited by users more than doubling this week. In addition to this, our display suite walkthrough videos have shown a 208% click-through rate increase over the past weekend alone. 

At Urban, we’re endeavouring to give prospective buyers as much of the information and assistance they need to be able to continue with their property search without leaving their home. This initiative is supported by the likes of video display suite tours, supplying buyers with plenty of information for their due diligence research, and facilitating engagement between the buyer and developer to ensure there is an excellent level of communication maintained between both parties, despite the current circumstances. 

Report: COVID-19 changes off-the-plan property buying behaviour
Project listing visits by unique user. Source:

“We’ve seen the average projects visited per Urban user more than double in the space of a week, this is a major shift in browsing activity.

Our view is that there is a significant first-mover opportunity available to developers that can enable consumers to move further through the decision making process online. They can capture this opportunity through display suite videos, making floor plans more readily available online and delivering a quick phone-based response to new sales enquiries.

As with any time of change, there is opportunity.”

Mike Bird, CEO @

As the property industry strives forward with resilience, we can reinstill positivity that there will be economic recovery on the horizon once the situation is under control. 

Olivia Round

Olivia Round is the Features Editor of Olivia specialises in news reporting, in-depth editorial content and video + podcast interviews with industry experts.

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