Australian auction clearance rates have weakened again

Paul Kane/Getty Images
  • Preliminary auction clearance rates across Australia softened last week.
  • There were 1,669 properties taken to auction with only 1,251 results reported, pointing to the likelihood of a large downward revision to final figures for the week.
  • Reporting in Sydney was particularly poor. Prices in Sydney fell 0.3% in June, extending the decline over the past year to 4.5%.

Australian auction clearance rates fell last week, reversing the modest improvement seen a week earlier.

According to CoreLogic, a combined capitals preliminary clearance rate of 56.7% was achieved, some two percentage points lower than that of the previous week.

CoreLogic said 1,669 properties went under the hammer, down from 1,849 one week earlier.

Of those auctions held, the group received results from just 1,251. Within that figure, 716 sold either before, at or after auction. 535 were unsuccessful, either failing to clear or withdrawn prior to auction.

The large number of unreported results points to the likelihood that final clearance rates for the week — released on Thursday by CoreLogic — will be revised lower, perhaps substantially so depending on reporting from agents.

In the prior week, a final clearance level of 55.5% was recorded. One year ago the combined capitals clearance rate stood at 67.3%, underlining just how much Australia’s housing market has cooled as a result of tighter lending standards.

CoreLogic

As seen in the table below from CoreLogic, clearance rates remained soft in both Sydney and Melbourne, not only Australia’s largest and most expensive housing markets but also the busiest for auction activity.

CoreLogic

Despite a lower number of properties going under the hammer, Melbourne’s preliminary clearance rates weakened, falling to 60.3% from 62.3% a week earlier.

795 properties in the city went under the hammer, down from 946 in the prior week.

Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate improved fractionally week-on-week, lifting to 56.4% from 55.3%. The improvement could reflect a large number of unreported results, and hints the final figure could be substantially lower.

631 properties in Sydney were taken to auction, down from 635 a week earlier.

The soft results in Sydney and Melbourne point to the likelihood that prices in both cities are likely to fall further in the months ahead.

These charts from ANZ Bank show the relationship between auction clearance rates and annual changes in median dwelling values in both cities.

ANZ Bank

Separate data released by CoreLogic today revealed that median prices in Sydney and Melbourne fell by 0.3% and 0.4% respectively in June, extending the slide in both cities over the past three months to 0.9% and 1.4%.

Over the year, Sydney’s median price has fallen by 4.5%. Melbourne prices have risen 1% over the same period, although annual price growth in the city looks set to turn negative shortly should current trends be maintained.

Across the smaller capital city markets, preliminary clearance rates improved in Canberra but fell in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Despite recording clearance rates around or below the levels seen in Sydney and Melbourne, prices in Brisbane and Adelaide rose in June, adding to modest gains seen in recent months.

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