Auction clearance rates on an uptrend

By Gerv Tacadena | 27 May 2020

The auction markets across capital cities in Australia have reported the highest collective clearance rate since the onset of the COVID-19 restrictions in March, according to the latest data from CoreLogic.

Of the 613 properties that went under the hammer, 70.9% were successfully sold. While the auction volume remained substantially lower than during the same week last year, the share of sales was higher over the weekend.

Sydney remained the busiest market, with a total auction volume of 319 homes. The city also recorded the highest success rate at 77.9%.

Melbourne was the second most active market, with 72% of 160 auctions returning successful.

"One year ago, clearance rates were lower across both of the largest capital cities, coming in around the early 60% mark. However, volumes were significantly higher across both cities," said CoreLogic analyst Jade Harling.

Amongst the smaller markets, Canberra was head and shoulders above others. This capital city hosted 61 auctions and reported a 73.2% clearance rate.

"Given it's been a few weeks since the ban for onsite auctions and inspections were lifted, agents and vendors have had the chance to start implementing marketing campaigns, and we are likely to see volumes gradually increase each week," Harling said.

Leanne Pilkington, president of the Real Estate Institute of New South Wales (REINSW), said recent auction market figures, particularly of Sydney, indicate signs of confidence from potential buyers. Sydney has consistently reported high clearance rates, leading seven of the past eight weeks.

“REINSW member agents and auctioneers indicates that properties have been comfortably exceeding their reserve. As we know when demand outstrips supply property prices don’t tend to fall,” she said.

However, Pilkington said vendors are still testing the waters due to the uncertainties brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Lack of stock could well be the issue for the market as purchasers are still keen to buy. Hopefully, that will turn around once vendors come to understand that the world hasn’t collapsed,” she said. “Property is a long-term asset acquisition; it cannot be lumped in with share-market volatility. We cannot predict what will be happening in the housing market in six months’ time, but the data makes it clear, it is not collapsing around us right now.”

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