Australian auction clearance rates point to further falls in home prices

Gerardo Mora/Getty ImagesA gradual decline in prices.
  • Australian auction clearance rates rebounded last week despite a sharp increase in the number of properties going under the hammer.
  • Sydney and Melbourne both recorded preliminary clearance rates in the low-to-mid 50% region, a level that has typically coincided with price declines in the past.
  • CoreLogic will release weekly price data from Australia’s five mainland state capitals later today.

Australian auction clearance rates rebounded last week despite a large increase in the number of properties going under the hammer. However, they still remain at levels that have typically corresponded with price declines in the past.

According to CoreLogic, a preliminary clearance rate of 53.7% was achieved across Australia’s capital cities, up marginally from the 49.1% preliminary estimate offered seven days earlier that was subsequently revised down to 45.8%, the weakest level since June 2012.


The modest increase came despite a sharp lift in the number of auctions held across the country, lifting to 1,809 from 895 in the prior week.

CoreLogic received results from 1,323 of the auctions that took place, equating to a preliminary reporting rate of 73.1%, up from 65.6% one week earlier.

Of those results received, 717 properties either sold prior to, at or after auction. 606 properties failed to sell, including 107 that were removed from the market prior to going to auction.

Maintaining the prevailing theme seen in recent months, preliminary clearance rates for units continued to outperform that for houses, standing at 56.4% and 52.6% respectively for the week.


By individual capital, both Sydney and Melbourne — the busiest individual auction markets across the country — recorded preliminary clearance rates in the low-to-mid 50% region.

After hitting the lowest level in a decade in the prior week, Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate bounced noticeably, lifting to 53.5% from 49.2% a week earlier.

That latter was revised down to just 43.8% following the receipt of tardy results, a level not seen since December 2008.

“There were 606 Sydney homes taken to auction this week, virtually unchanged from the week prior,” CoreLogic said.

Suggesting Sydney’s preliminary result is likely to be revised substantially lower, the group received results from just 381 of the auctions that took place.

After a sharp slowdown caused by the AFL Grand Final in late September, auction activity in Melbourne rose sharply, increasing from 70 to 904 week-on-week.

Despite the large increase in properties going under the hammer, Melbourne’s preliminary clearance rate was largely unchanged, standing at 54.4% from 55.6% a week earlier.

CoreLogic received results from 744 of the 904 auctions that took place across the city during the week.

Nationwide, Adelaide recorded the highest preliminary clearance rate of any capital city at 66.1%, closely followed by Canberra at 63.9%. Both were marginally higher compared to the preliminary figures released a week earlier.

Brisbane’s preliminary result of 41.3% was also an improvement on the 36.1% figure of a week earlier.

Later today, CoreLogic will release weekly home price movements from Australia’s five mainland state capitals – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

In the last week of September, median prices across these cities fell 0.1% in average weighted terms, led by modest declines in all cities apart from Brisbane.

That result left prices in these cities down 3.9% over the past year, a result largely reflecting fall of 6.1%, 3.4% and 2.8% in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth respectively.

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