Sydney just had its biggest auction weekend in a year – but an economist says a price rebound could be subdued

Sydney’s property market is looking more solid after the weekend’s auctions.
  • Property auctions ran hot over the weekend, as Sydney recorded its best numbers since November 2018, further indicating a market rebound is underway.
  • 939 properties went under the hammer, with 77.7% selling according to preliminary figures, compared to 43.8% of 608 Sydney auctions on the same weekend last year.
  • With the AFL grand final meaning only a measly 103 homes went to auction in Melbourne, the city recorded a 82.5% clearance rate.

Melbourne might have all but stopped for the AFL grand final but north of the border, New South Wales was in its own state of excitement. While 80,000 fans packed the MCG, Sydney had a blockbuster in the only area Australians perhaps love more than sport: property.

“While activity slowed across Melbourne, the Sydney auction market took the show recording the busiest week for auctions since November last year, with 939 homes taken to market,” CoreLogic said in a note issued to Business Insider Australia.

Of those, early figures indicate that 77.7% of those properties sold. While that preliminary clearance rate will come down when the final figures are released later in the week, they do suggest Sydney’s property market is improving and, along with Melbourne, helping drive the national average higher.

The national auction clearance rate in Australia

While the previous weekend was solid – there were 646 auctions, of which 72.7% of properties sold – it was blown out of the water in another indication that the Sydney market is picking up steam.

READ MORE: This is exactly how much house prices are changing in every Australian capital city

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver however pointed to restricted lending, a stock of apartments entering the market and a soft Australian economy as factors constraining any bounce in prices.

Sydney auctions had struggled in the early part of 2019 before appearing to turn a corner in the aftermath of the federal election. Leading up to that, it had stumbled for the better part of a year. On the same weekend one year ago, just 43.8% of 608 Sydney auctions sold.

It also gives some credence to the thesis that even as the number of auctions grows going into spring, high clearance rates can remain.

READ MORE: Sydney and Melbourne house prices are set to bounce despite low sales numbers. These two charts show why.

Meanwhile in Melbourne, the AFL grand final weekend is a notoriously quiet one. Just 103 homes went under the hammer, with a preliminary clearance rate of 82.5% recorded. Last year those figures were 70 and 57.7% respectively.

Elsewhere, other capital city markets are trailing behind. Just over half of Brisbane’s 85 auctions managed to sell, beaten by Adelaide’s 69 at 62.2%. Canberra’s wasn’t too far off, with 55 auctions going ahead over the weekend, while only 10 faced the market in Perth.

Those cities, unlike Melbourne, don’t have footy fever to blame.