Sentiment towards off-the-plan properties is improving, with the number of online searches rising four-fold in some areas over the past three months as government incentives entice first-home buyers to the sector. Moreton Bay in Brisbane’s north and Riverstone in Sydney’s north west are the most popular, racking up 340% increases in the number of buyers searching for off-the-plan properties, new Domain data shows. Mark Bainey, chief executive of Capio Group, says demand for medium-density off-the-plan developments outside the CBDs has rocketed, with buyers paying record prices for townhouses and bigger apartments.

Government concessions have helped to improve sentiment towards the sector, says Nicola Powell, Domain’s senior research analyst. FHBs in NSW and Victoria get $10,000 for new homes and stamp duty discounts, while Queensland offers $15,000 to FHBs of a new home. “I think the affordability of the outer suburbs has also been a lure for buyers to move to these new developing areas, particularly with the ability to work from home,” says Powell.