Auction clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne are still looking soft

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Auction clearance rates across Australia’s capital cities remain below the levels seen earlier this year, reflecting softer performances from Sydney and Melbourne, the nation’s largest housing markets.

According to CoreLogic, a preliminary combined capital city clearance rate of 66.5% was reported last week, marginally below the 66.8% preliminary reading seen one week earlier.

The group received results from 2,220 of the 2,894 properties that went up for sale, or 76.7%.

Should the pattern of previous weeks be maintained, the final national clearance rate — released by CoreLogic on Thursday — will likely come in below the preliminary reading released over the weekend.

The final clearance rate for the first week in November came in at 61.5%, below the preliminary reading of 66.8%. The final reading was the lowest since early 2016.

By individual capital, preliminary clearance rates in Melbourne fell from 77.3% to 71.4%, corresponding with a sharp lift in the number of properties up for sale.

1,299 properties in Melbourne went under the hammer, up from 318 in the previous week. The timing of the long weekend in Victoria to mark the start of the Melbourne Cup horse racing carnival explains the sharp increase in volumes week-on-week.

The low preliminary figure suggests that Melbourne’s final clearance rate could fall below 70% when updated figures are released later this week.

Source: CoreLogic

Continuing the pattern over the past month, Sydney clearance rates were also soft with a preliminary reading of 64.4% recorded, down from 67.4% in the first week of November.

1,089 properties went up for sale, down marginally from 1,232 in the previous week.

Sydney’s final clearance rate has come in below 60% in the past two weeks, and it looks like that trend may continue given the soft preliminary figure released over the weekend.

Both Melbourne and Sydney’s clearance rates remain well below the 76.8% and 81.4% levels reported in the same corresponding week in 2016.

“Clearance rates have continued to track below 70% since June the year,” CoreLogic says.

“This is a considerably softer trend than what was seen over the same period last year when clearance rates were tracking around the mid-70% range for most of the second half 2016.”

Outside of Australia’s largest capitals, preliminary clearance rates rose week-on-week in Canberra and Perth but fell in Brisbane, Adelaide and Hobart.

CoreLogic will release updated house price data for Australia’s five mainland state capital cities later today.

Reflecting recent weakening in auction clearance rates, price growth in Melbourne has slowed sharply in recent months while prices in Sydney have gone backwards.

The stuttering performance from Australia’s largest markets has also seen price growth across most other capitals either slow or stall over the same period.

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