Australian auction clearance rates remain stuck at multi-year lows

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
  • Just over 40% of Australian capital city homes taken to auction last week sold.
  • No capital recorded a clearance level in excess of 50%.
  • Auction volumes remain well below the levels of a year ago, even with a large increase in activity in the coming week.

Australian auction clearance remain entrenched near multi-year lows.

According to CoreLogic, Australia’s final combined capitals clearance rate stood at 42.4% last week, just above the record-low level of 40% set when the group last released figures in late December.

The final figure was revised down from the preliminary estimate of 47.8% released earlier in the week. This is often seen as most tardy results are for properties that failed to sell.

As seen in the table below, less than half of all properties cleared in each of Australia’s capital city markets, ranging from 49.5% in Sydney to as low as 15.4% in Perth.

CoreLogic

A total 536 homes were taken to auction across the capitals. Of those, CoreLogic received results from 453, or 84.5%. 192 sold before, at or after auction while 261 failed to clear.

While the final clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne improved from the levels seen in late December, CoreLogic reported that median prices fell by 0.3% and 0.2% respectively over the week. In those capitals where daily data is available, prices fell by 0.4% in Perth, 0.1% in Brisbane and were flat in Adelaide.

Auction volumes were well down on the 790 homes that went under the hammer in the same corresponding week a year ago. Back then, the national figure stood at 62%.

As seen in the chart below, a pickup in clearance levels early in the year is not unusual, primarily reflecting there’s less supply hitting the market.

CoreLogic

Looking ahead, auction volumes will increase in the coming week with 874 homes set to go under the hammer. Despite the large increase from a week earlier — often seen at this time of year as school holidays come to an end — the number of auctions set to take place is well below the 1,470 level seen a year ago.

The reduction primarily reflects how soft market conditions are at present, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, which is discouraging homeowners from putting their home up for sale. A move towards sales via private treaty is another factor behind the fall.

Melbourne, as is usually the case, looks set to be the busiest capital city market for the week with 331 homes being taken to market, marginally ahead of Sydney with 302.

Volumes will increase in all other capital city markets except for Brisbane and Canberra.

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