Across Australia, home sales reached their high point in November last year, with transaction numbers through to the end of July this year showing that the number of home sales has levelled compared with the seasonal highs of late last year. On an annual basis, transaction numbers are still rising but not at the same growth rate as recorded one year ago.
Despite a high rate of capital appreciation in New South Wales and Victoria, the six month trend peaked in November and December last year and has slowly wound down during 2014. Sales in the Northern Territory have also slowed.
In contrast, property sales are gathering momentum in Tasmania, Queensland and South Australia. While coming from a low base, all three states have underperformed the other capital cities for value growth but transaction numbers are moving higher. Tasmania recorded the most significant increase where the rolling six month trend in sales hasn’t been as high since July 2009.
RP Data also noted a rise in average selling time and rate of vendor discounting in the months leading up to spring. The average number of days to sell a home reached a recent low of 36 days across the combined capital cities over the month of March this year. Since that time the average days on market figure has trended higher to reach 47 days. On the other hand, vendor discounting rates haven’t softened as much, up from 5.5% in February this year to 5.8% in August.
Tim Lawless, RP Data research director, noted slowing home sales can largely be a result of seasonal trends. For these reasons, he said that the spring season will provide a timely litmus test for the housing market. However, the question for Lawless is whether transaction numbers will rise to eclipse last year’s recent high, or have we moved the peak in buyer demand.
“We are already seeing listing numbers ramping up at a faster rate than last year, the big question is whether buyer numbers will match the pace of listings to absorb this additional supply,” Lawless said.
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