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Published May 13, 2024
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How To Search The History Of A Property

A property history search can be a piece in the jigsaw puzzle for both buyers and sellers who want to gain as full an understanding of the market and the neighbourhood as possible.

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Before buying a property, you’ll want to consider the history of the home. Doing a basic property history search can uncover details like who once lived there, how the property was built, and how much — and how often — it sold in the past. Knowing those details can help ensure you’re well-informed before making the property purchase. 

Why search the sales history?

You may want to check out a property’s sales history for a few reasons.

The most obvious is to see how much it has appreciated or not over a particular time and how the property market has changed in the area as a whole. You might also want to know what the home next door sold for or the frequency at which it was sold.

A property search may also be helpful if you’re engaging a property expert, such as a mortgage broker or buyer’s agent. In that case, the sales history is just one piece in a puzzle. They will also need to factor in what they think a property is worth and what you should pay. 

Likewise, a property search can help if you’re a seller and ask a real estate agent to sell your home. The sales history can inform their decision on what to put it on the market for and form part of their property appraisal, but it will just be one of a range of considerations.   

Finally, if your search discovers that the property last sold for much more or less than the average for similar abodes in the area, you will want to know why. The reasons may reveal other things, such as details about the property’s structure, which will require further investigation. 

» MORE: What is estimated market value?

Finding information about property sales may have been a difficult and drawn-out process in the past. Fortunately, there is no shortage of digital tools at your disposal, and most of what you need should be readily available online. 

Here are some ways to begin your search: 

State and Territory records

The best place to start is the website for the land title deeds office in your State or Territory. These government departments are legally obliged to record all residential and commercial property sales information and make it available to the public. This should contain comprehensive lists of all previous title owners on your property and when the property was sold. 

In most cases, you can search through these records online, though you may need to pay a fee. Many of these details are readily accessible as long as you have the property’s lot, deed or portfolio number, which the seller should be able to provide. 

Alternatively, you may need to search through these archives physically. If in doubt, contact the relevant office in your State for more information. 

» MORE: What is a freehold property title?

Public data and archives

Federal government resources offer valuable data on historical sales trends and profiles of suburbs and regions. This history provides a well-rounded view of where a particular property sits in the current market. 

  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics contains vast real estate data, including housing and mortgage research. This is usually national in nature but will often provide insights into the state of the housing market in your state or region and the underlying causes. 
  • The National Library of Australia’s Trove has details about suburbs, streets, and the property you are interested in (or already own), including any images or relevant newspaper articles. Trove also contains information about previous owners.  
  • The National Archives of Australia also contains vast records about property sales and previous owners. 

Properties deemed to be of sufficient cultural interest are heritage listed. The property agent should inform you of this first, but you can also look it up on the Australian Heritage Database website. A heritage listing applies to a very small percentage of properties — much less than 1% in NSW, for example — but something you need to know when buying, as the listing may involve restrictions on what you can renovate.  

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you want to learn more about the area you’re buying into, state library websites are great resources for information on suburbs. You can find maps, articles from newspapers, and more from historical societies, some of which have data that goes back well over 100 years. 

Real estate websites

Additionally, there are plenty of high-profile real estate websites worth checking. These resources contain comprehensive sales information for both individual properties and their suburbs, areas, cities and towns.

  •, Australia’s largest property website, has detailed sales records, suburb profilesvand market trends.
  • Domain has comprehensive information on recent sales, suburban market trends and auction results nationwide.
  • Pricefinder is a property website providing data on all previous sales and recorded property valuations.
  • Radius Suburb service provides comprehensive data on suburbs, including all property sales history.
  • offers a property history for each listed property on its website.
  • allhomes is another place that allows users to search past sales by suburb, street and address.

Putting property data in context

Past property sales and neighbouring homes’ prices can offer a clearer picture of market conditions and what you could expect to pay. However, they are by no means a guarantee of what will happen in the future. 

An in-depth search of a property’s history will also reveal previous owners, the history of when the property was built, and things such as previous renovations and if they required approval from the local council. That information, as interesting as it may be, should be regarded as just some of the data points you should consider when making an offer on a property or selling one.

For example, even if a previous report said there were structural issues with the property that the owner fixed, getting your own building inspection would still be highly advisable.

» MORE: Costs to know when buying a house


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