Sales volumes plummet in 2010

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Last year saw the lowest number of property sales in a decade.

Research by RP Data has revealed that sales volumes fell by 20% last year – the lowest level of dwelling sales since the turn of the century, and well below the 10-year average. RP Data research analyst Cameron Kusher said the slowdown was "in-line with relatively weak housing finance commitments for owner-occupier purchasers, once refinances are removed."

He suggested that the picture will be less gloomy this year, however,

"Although we are not anticipating much in the way of property value growth during 2011 some indicators suggest that sales volumes will improve," said Kusher. "Housing finance commitment volumes have levelled and are now improving slightly, unemployment is at 5.0 per cent, wages are growing at a level above inflation and limited growth in property values coupled with wage growth is likely to improve housing affordability."

Even so, Kusher warned that any improvement would be relative to the weakest year for sales activity in more than a decade, and sales in 2011 are likely to remain below 10-year average levels.

There were 404,847 sales in total in 2010, 266,070 of which were properties in capital cities. The year in which the highest number of sales were seen was 2003, with 602,654 sales in total.

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