New research uses transaction level data on sales across NSW and SA to create a harmonised spatio-temporal dataset of property market profiles for regional areas to help practitioners understand their dynamics.

Housing one third of the population and generating two thirds of the export economy, regional towns and rural areas are a significant part of the Australian socio-economic structure.

Although there is substantial policy focus on regional development and improving the well-being of its residents at federal and state levels, much of the detailed, large scale, longitudinal studies on the built environment, real-estate and property markets are often focused on the capital city regions.

To tackle this issue, researchers have used the detailed, comprehensive data on property sales made available by the Valuer General offices of NSW and SA to profile and understand the state and dynamics of the property markets across regional areas in these states.

More granular regional property market data

In this study, researchers examine the sales volume, median price, demography, and other characteristics of the regional property market in NSW and SA over the last decade to identify the spatio-temporal patterns in their behaviour.

The transaction level sales dataset, when aggregated and visualised, proves to be an incredibly useful tool. This can enable practitioners in the property industry to profile and understand the regional markets clearly and succinctly while providing them opportunity for a more nuanced discussion around valuation and pricing.

The research team also created a simple, clear, and understandable categorisation of the regional markets in terms of their temporal price trends using hierarchical clustering.

The study also uses the publicly available 2021 Census datasets on population and demography by linking it to the corresponding regional property markets.

Most importantly, the results and insights were visualised as an easy-to-use, interactive, map-based visualisation that can be used by practitioners and broader community to better understand, manage, and work in these regional markets.

The visualisation immediately shows that the 17 regional LGA which have experienced rapid growth in their median price in the last decade were all located in coastal NSW.

What are the main outputs?

The primary output of the project – a dynamic, interactive, multi-level, geo-spatial visualisation which is available at shows the spatio-temporal patterns of property markets in regional NSW and SA. Also shown are the results of the analysis in the form of summary profiles such as the median price trend clusters, demographic profiles across various statistical areas.

For example, the visualisation immediately shows that the 17 regional LGA which have experienced rapid growth in their median price in the last decade were all located in coastal NSW.

On a more detailed inspection, it can show how much of an outlier Kiama and Byron are in terms median price and their change compared to the rest of the state.

The secondary output is an aggregated index published at which shows the trends in price and volume of sales, clustering results and a brief census profile for each regional area at multiple boundary levels.

This research is also an important step in building pathways for translating research into an easily understandable format for the community of public and professionals to create maximum impact in practice.

Why are they important?

This study is important to the Australian property industry since there is a considerable lack of usable publicly available data and resources regarding regional property markets compared to the capital cities.

Although few portals and datasets do exist, they are compiled at a state/local government level and distributed in such formats which require some level of expertise in data analysis for generating usable insights.

This research is also important to specific aspects of the property industry such as valuation, where understanding the regional context of the property’s location is one of the key steps in the process.

Outputs from this research will enable property professionals to form a quick, baseline understanding of regional property markets in comparison to others before they go on to investigate them in detail at a suburb or property level.

This research is also an important step in building pathways for translating research into an easily understandable format for the community of public and professionals to create maximum impact in practice.

The research team hopes the regional property market dashboard will be widely used and will act as an example showcasing the value in building and expanding such tools and resources at a national level.

What do your findings mean for the Australian property buyers/sellers and/or professionals and how might your findings impact these groups?

Although the scope of this research does not delve into the prescriptive findings for the stakeholders of the property industry in their decision-making process, it forms a base for such insights to be derived on top of it.

In this regard, the output aggregated data generated from this research is crucial.

This dataset will form a part of and distributed via the National Housing Data Exchange (AHDE) and the technology/platform that powers the dashboard will form a part of the Australian Property Market Explorer (APME) – initiatives from the Australian Housing Data Analytics Platform (AHDAP).

These components will be leveraged with the broader resources available to the AHDAP to develop a more comprehensive, national level data infrastructure and ecosystem of tools built on top of it.

When developed comprehensively, the outputs of the research outputs can be a key resource for multiple stakeholders in various ways.

For example, it can help policymakers understand housing affordability and stress; financial institutions understanding risk; help market participants make better transaction decisions; help government optimise planning; service provision and revenue generation.

What are your recommendations and potential for future work?

This project and outputs demonstrate the immense value in utilising the data on sales collected by the revenue departments of state governments when combined with right aggregation, analysis, and visualisation.

The authors recommend that datasets be collected across Australia for all states and a nationally harmonised dataset for regional areas be created. Such dataset with a standardised and regularly updated profiles on property market and demography will be invaluable for the Australian property industry.

There are multiple avenues in which the research can be taken forward. From the data side, we could look at including more closely related property related datasets such as rental data from housing bonds that are lodged with state government, mortgage related datasets from the central bank etc.

From the analysis side, we could look into further strengthening the demographic profiling by using more data points related to property market along with using a more advanced clustering algorithm such as k-means or db-scan.

On the visualisation and distribution side, we need to look for ways to sustainably host the outputs for the property industry in the future along with a plan for updating the outputs at regular intervals.

When implemented in the right way this can grow an ecosystem around these outputs which will create significant impact for the property industry and regional areas of Australia by promoting a data-driven discussion and decision-making in the property market.

Dashboard available at:

Aggregated outputs available at:

This research was funded by the Australian Property Research and Education Fund (APREF).