Sellers were in no rush to let go of their properties over the past month despite a significant surge in auction activity.

The latest figures from SQM Research showed that total property listings declined by 6.5% in December, striking an annual decline of 20%.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra have recorded the greatest falls in listings over the month, while Perth reported the lowest decline.

“While there was a significant surge in auction activity over December, total listings were down on a month-by-month and a year-by-year comparison,” Mr Christopher said.

CoreLogic reported that over the third week of December, auction markets reported the second highest activity results since 2008.

Interestingly, listings in Perth increased by 1.9% on an annual basis, while listings in Darwin jumped 18.7% compared to December last year.

In terms of new listings, there was a 29.5% monthly decline, with Sydney reporting the biggest drop.

However, new listings rose compared to last year, increasing the fastest in Darwin, Sydney, and Perth.

Mr Christopher said despite the difference in monthly and annual results, there remains an overall shortage of listings at the national level.

“As a result, vendors are in no panic at this point — indeed, they lifted their asking prices for the month,” he said.

Over the past 30 days to 4 January, asking prices rose across the board, save for the unit segments in Melbourne, Adelaide, and Darwin.

Overall, national asking prices for houses increased by 0.2% over the month and 19.5% from last year, while those for units declined by 0.3% from last month but increased by 10.4% from 2020.

“Unless we have a surge in listings for the start of the property season in February it is looking like a very soft landing for the housing market in 2022,” Mr Christopher said.

Photo by @bradneathery on Unsplash.