Online property listings shrink in Sydney and Melbourne

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Property owners, having been spooked by the federal election, are holding off putting their homes on the market.

The REA Group, the owner of realestate.com.au, today reported weak listings in the Sydney and Melbourne property markets.

The company, 62% owned by NewsCorp, posted a 16% rise in revenue to $170 million with EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation) up 9% to $90 million the September quarter.

The result was driven by the inclusion of real estate classified advertising across Asia via iProperty, which it bought in February for $580 million, and a 14% increase in the Australian residential business.

However, REA says there’s been an 8% decline in listings, mainly in Sydney and Melbourne.

This shrinking started during consumer uncertainly in the lead up to the July federal election and kept going as the lack of sellers discouraged those thinking about listing their properties.

“Listing volumes remained lower for the entire quarter as the lack of stock deterred potential property sellers from entering the market,” the company said in its quarterly report.

“Listing volumes have remained at these levels in October and we expect these conditions to continue for the remainder of the first half.”

Last week, Fairfax Media reported Domain’s overall revenue up 2% so far in the 2017 financial year but said first half earnings were likely to be slightly lower than last year due to lower listings.

Fairfax said: “New real estate listings in higher value markets in Sydney and Melbourne have seen modest improvement in recent months following an unusually weak July.”

New listings volumes to the end of October were down 18% in Sydney and 5% in Melbourne.

The reports from REA and Domain fit with reports of a lower number of properties going to auction this spring.

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