Auction listings jump by 17% as sellers race to close before Christmas

Auction listings jump by 17% as sellers race to close before Christmas
Credit: Daniel Munoz, SMH
  • Auction listings are at almost double where they were this time last year, as vendors seek to capitalise on buyer FOMO leading to the end of the year.
  • Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide recorded their highest volumes since 2008.
  • Following an unprecedented year that saw house prices surge 22%, analysts expect the last weeks of 2021 will close out the boom before prices ease in the new year.
  • Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.

Auction volumes are at their highest levels this year, following delays to the spring surge due to lockdowns and turbocharged by the easing of restrictions moving into summer. 

Listings jumped another 17% this week compared to last week and were double that of the same week in 2020, as vendors race to capitalise on buyers’ fear of missing out before the year ends.

Auction listings were also double that of the corresponding week last year, with the traditional spring surge delayed by lockdowns then turbocharged by the easing of restrictions.

Sydney, Canberra and Adelaide recorded their highest volumes since CoreLogic records began in 2008, with 4,354 homes set to go under the hammer this weekend across Australia’s combined capital cities. 

Last week 3,720 homes went to auction, while this time last year 2,168 auctions occurred.

The flurry of activity comes amid discussion around a potential market correction that will lead to an easing of prices into 2022.

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said the final weeks of the year were set to be the “biggest test for the housing market since the onset of COVID-19.” 

“Buyer demand remains strong, but the higher listings will still test the market and act as a dampener.”

Australian house prices surged 22% this year. But while auction volumes have remained high across Australia’s capitals, clearance rates have steadily declined over the past two months, pointing to a slowing market after a bumper year. 

ABS data showed a 15% decline in first-home buyers entering the market in the September quarter, a signal that soaring prices have increasingly pushed younger prospective buyers off the pipeline. 

“There’s no doubt week to week those auction clearance rates are showing a gradual decline in momentum,’ Eliza Owen, head of research at CoreLogic, told Business Insider Australia. 

Analysts expect the rate of price growth to begin easing next year, with some forecasting the correction could take hold as early as mid-2022 as buyer fatigue sets in and the cost of home loans rises.

But for now auctioneers are scrambling to sell in the final weeks as year defined by an unprecedented housing boom comes to a close. 

Melbourne is expected to host the most auctions this week with 1,898 homes scheduled to go under the hammer, up 14.5% compared to last week and more than double the number of auctions recorded this time last year. 

This weekend is set to be Sydney’s busiest on record, according to Corelogic’s metrics which began recording in 2008.

The emerald city currently has 1,656 auctions scheduled to go under the hammer. 

Last week Sydney hosted 1,352 auctions, while this time last year 886 homes went under the hammer. 

Smaller capital cities are also set to overtake last week’s figures, with 308 and 183 auctions scheduled respectively.

Perth is expecting its busiest week of the year with 47 auctions scheduled, while Brisbane is set to host 260 auctions. 

Earlier this month ANZ forecast housing price growth would slow to 6% in 2022 and dip 4% in 2023, as rising interest rates, prudential regulation, and unaffordability depressed prices.