Clearance rates in Melbourne and Sydney are struggling to hold above 40%

  • Australian auction clearance rates continue to slide, falling to fresh six-year lows last week.
  • Melbourne’s clearance rate came in at just 41.3%, the weakest since June 2012. Sydney’s wasn’t much better at 42.8%.
  • Auction activity across the country will slow this week, due mainly to a large drop in Melbourne. However, after seeing prices fall 0.5% last week, Sydney’s market will be tested with more homes set to go under the hammer.

Australian auction clearance rates continue to slide, falling to fresh cyclical lows last week.

According to final figures released by CoreLogic, just 42% of homes across the capitals sold during the week, the lowest percentage since June 2012.


The result, down from 43.3% a week earlier, coincided with a steep increase in properties going under the hammer, lifting to 2,745, the highest level since autumn this year.

Combined with soft demand, the result suggests the gulf between vendor and buyer price expectations remains extremely wide.

86.4% of results were reported, a small improvement on the 85% level of a week earlier.

One year ago, and despite a significantly large number of auctions at 3,390, Australia’s capital city clearance rate stood at 60.9%.

Helping to explain the weak national result, clearance rates in the two busiest markets, Melbourne and Sydney, came in just above 40%.


Melbourne’s clearance rate fell to 41.3%, also the lowest since June 2012. 1,401 auctions were held across the city, up from 1,127 a week earlier.

In the same corresponding week in 2017, Melbourne recorded a clearance rate of 6.9% from 1,732 auctions held.

In Sydney, where prices fell 0.5% during the week according to data from CoreLogic, clearance rates actually improved a touch, lifting to 42.8%, up from 42.1% seven days earlier.

875 homes went under the hammer across the city, up from 844 in the previous week.

One year ago, Sydney’s clearance rate stood at 54.8% from 1,061 auctions head.

Across the smaller capitals, Adelaide was the only market to register a final clearance rate above 50%, at 59%.

While still weak, clearance rates in all other markets rose from a week earlier, underlining that the national decline last week was entirely a Melbourne story.

Looking to the week ahead, CoreLogic is currently tracking 2,571 auctions across the capitals.

Despite a large drop in activity week-on-week, Melbourne will remain the busiest capital city market with 1,069 homes set to go under the hammer. In what will provide a stern test for market conditions in Sydney, the number of auctions in Australia’s largest and most expensive city will increase to 1,000.

Elsewhere, activity will increase in Adelaide and Canberra but fall in all other capital city markets.

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