Australia's auction market remained busy amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with capital cities hosting 2,539 auctions, according to the latest figures from CoreLogic.

Caitlin Fono, analyst at CoreLogic, said this was the second-busiest weekend for auctions so far in the year despite the escalating concerns surrounding COVID-19.

However, clearance rates started to slow down, hitting a preliminary level of 61.3%. Still, this is substantially higher than a year ago when values are declining, Fono said.

"It is likely that the preliminary auction clearance rate of 61.3% will revise down to below 60% for the first time since mid-2019 as remaining results are collected," Fono said. "While the clearance rate has fallen, it remains stronger than this time last year when 1,667 homes were taken to auction, and a clearance rate of 50.9% was recorded."

Melbourne reported the highest auction volume at 1,317, which returned a preliminary auction rate of 62.7%. Sydney, on the other hand, registered the highest success rate at 64.4% for 923 auctions.

Capital city auction statistics

However, the coronavirus outbreak has also resulted in many cases of withdrawals. In fact, withdrawal rate has hit 8% across combined capital cities, from an average of 5% over the past few weekends.

The largest share of withdrawals was recorded in Sydney, where around 13.5% of auctions were pulled from the market. In Melbourne, only 3.9% were withdrawn.

"This week's preliminary auction results mark a turning point in buyer and seller sentiment, with withdrawal rates rising as vendors think twice about testing the market and buyers losing confidence or choosing to avoid public gatherings," Fono said. "In all likelihood, we will see more vendors choosing to withdraw from the market until confidence and selling conditions improve.