CHART: Sydney auction clearance rates continue to drop

Photo: Getty/Scott Barbour

Sydney auction clearance rates continued to fall last week, fitting with recent indicators that sentiment levels towards the city’s once-hot housing market are cooling.

According to CoreLogic RP Data, the preliminary auction clearance rate came in at 55.2% last week, below the preliminary figure of 55.6% seen in the prior corresponding week. The data is based off partial auction data received by the group, and is subject to revision. The final auction clearance rate for the week ending December 6 came in at just 52.9%.

From 869 auctions held, CoreLogic RP data received results from 649, with 358 properties sold. At the time of publication, no results has been received for the remaining 291 auctions held. The group notes that they receive between 85% and 90% of auction results each week.

As the chart below reveals, the trend in clearance rates has been steadily falling, having hit a level of near 90% earlier in the year.

Reflective of softening demand, and perhaps a reluctance of vendors to lower their reserves, in the same week last year 1,357 auctions were held with a clearance rate of 69.8% recorded.

For the week, the city’s inner west recorded the highest clearance rate of 74.6%, followed by the northern beaches, North Sydney/Hornsby and city/inner south at 65.0%, 62.8% and 61.8% respectively. Blacktown and the south west, at 22.2% and 30.4% respectively, recorded the lowest clearance rates.

Fitting with the theme seen in Sydney, the national preliminary auction clearance rate came in at 59.3%, fractionally above the 20-month low of 57.3% seen in the previous week. A year earlier it stood at 65.5%.

In last week’s December Westpac-MI consumer sentiment survey, the index tracking whether now was a “time to buy a dwelling” fell by 3.4% to 99.5. The index is now 5.3% below the level of a year ago and 31.5% below its most recent high set in September 2013.

The decline in buying sentiment was mirrored in the separate house price expectations index which fell 9.4%, extending its decline from its cyclical peak in 2013 to 38%.

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