Property sellers started to align with buyers’ expectations in terms of auction pricing, as indicated by the improved take-up over the first quarter of the year.

Domain’s Quarterly Auction Report showed that clearance rates increased to 65.6% across capital cities and 50.7% in regional areas.

Clearance rates reached the highest level in thirteen months across the capital cities and a twelve-month high in regional markets.

Location Clearance rate Monthly change Annual change Auction volume Sold at auction Passed in Sold prior Withdrawn
Combined Capitals 65.6% 3.5ppt 2.1ppt 7,723 4,511 12.5%
Combined Regionals 50.7% 5.9ppt -2ppt 1,324 434 276 18.9% 17.1%
Sydney 67.1% 1.6ppt 4.4ppt 3,142 1,912 458 31.8% 16.8%
Melbourne 66.4% 4.8ppt 1.9ppt 3,254 2,007 704 18.8% 10.4%
Brisbane 52.1% 2.5ppt -1.2ppt 462 162 127 17.0% 7.1%
Adelaide 71.0% 2.8ppt 0.3ppt 453 267 92 11.4% 4.5%
Canberra 54.1% -2.8ppt -18.8ppt 347 157 112 17.6% 7.2%
Perth 51 3
Hobart 3 1
Darwin 11 2 1

Domain chief of research and economics Dr Nicola Powell said the increase in clearance rates reflect the willingness of sellers to adapt their pricing to align with current buyer expectations amid rising interest rates and deteriorating mortgage affordability and borrowing capacity.  

“Fewer homes going under the hammer have also supported better auction outcomes. It reflects buyers are willing to place favourable auction offers when the choice remains poor,” she said.

Looking at the share of properties sold prior to auction, there seemed to be a continued increase particularly in capital cities, which reported the highest share since March 2022.

In fact, across the country, the number of properties sold before auction day has risen for the second consecutive month.

“Similar to last month, sellers are more inclined to accept offers before auction day due to subdued demand. However, these conditions could start to be reshaped as the prospects of an interest rate pause and a glimmer of a lower cash rate later this year or early in 2024 uplift sentiment,” Dr Powell said.

In terms of property types, it appears more buyers are going after units — over the month, units continued to post higher take-up rates that houses.

“Affordability, perceived value, and lower borrowing capacity help support as units persistently outperform houses at auction,” Dr Powell said.

Location Houses Units
Clearance rate Monthly change Annual change Clearance rate Monthly change Annual change
Combined Capitals 65.4% 4.3ppt 0.2ppt 66.3% 0.8ppt 7.9ppt
Combined Regionals 49.1% 5.0ppt -3.7ppt 63.0% 14.4ppt 11.1ppt
Sydney 67.3% 2.8ppt 2.3ppt 66.6% -1.6ppt 8.8ppt
Melbourne 66.2% 5.2ppt 0ppt 66.9% 3.5ppt 8.3ppt
Brisbane 50.9% 3.9ppt -1.1ppt 58.7% -8ppt -1.5ppt
Adelaide 70.3% 1.4ppt -1.8ppt 80.8% 28.1ppt 27.1ppt
Canberra 54.0% -2.4ppt -19.9ppt 54.9% -4.8ppt -14.2ppt
With regards to pricing, a seasonal rise was seen in Sydney and Melbourne. However, it was a different story in Adelaide and Canberra.

On an annual basis, median auction prices declined across the board.

Here are the other highlights of the March 2023 Domain Auction Report:

  • Sydney’s clearance rate hit the second consecutive month of increase, reaching the highest level since October 2021.
  • Among all capital cities, Melbourne reported the steepest monthly increase in clearance rates.
  • Brisbane managed to break the 50% mark in clearance rates for the first time since May 2022.
  • Adelaide outperformed all capital cities, posting its best clearance rates since February 2022.
  • Of all capital cities, only Canberra reported a decline in clearance rates over the month.


Photo by kanchanachitkhamma on Canva.

Table Sources: Domain