National Auction Markets Easing
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National Auction Markets Easing

While results remain strong, clearance rates are trending lower.

By Kanebridge News
Mon, May 17, 2021 11:19amGrey Clock 2 min

With a surge of sellers keen to take advantage of strong buyer competition, the home auction markets reported lower clearance rates and clear signs that the white-hot market is beginning to cool.

A total of 2401 homes were reported as listed for auction on Saturday, May 15, which, although lower than last weekend’s May record 2563 listings, provided plenty of choices for buyers.

The national average weekend clearance rate was down on Saturday, falling from 83.1% to 80.9% – the lowest result since the 77.7% recorded on January 30.

This is the fourth consecutive weekend that clearance rates have fallen and is well below the peak national average of 88.5%, recorded on March 5.

Sydney hosted another incredibly busy weekend of auctions, with 9990 Sydney auctions reported on Saturday –  just below the previous weekend’s May record 1014.

With a larger volume of auctions, the Sydney clearance rate fell to 82.9%, down on the previous weekend’s 83.5%, and the fourth consecutive weekend of falling rates.

Sydney recorded a median price of $1,641,000 for houses sold at auction at the weekend, just below the $1,650,000 reported over the previous Saturday, but 16.4% higher than the $1,410,000 recorded over the same weekend last year.

Melbourne again saw a surge in auction volumes, which pushed the clearance rate down to a year low reporting a clearance rate of 78.6%, well below the 80.7% recorded the previous weekend.

A total of 1149 homes were reported listed for auction in Melbourne on Saturday, just below the 1248 May record auction the previous weekend and well ahead of the 82 auctioned over the same weekend last year.

Melbourne reached a median price of $1,093,000 for houses sold at auction on the weekend, which was 4.1% higher than the $1,050,000 recorded over the previous weekend and up 8.9% on the 1,002,944 recorded over the same weekend last year.

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House values continued to fall last month, but the pace of decline has slowed, CoreLogic reports.

In signs that the RBA’s aggressive approach to monetary policy is making an impact, CoreLogic’s Home Value Index reveals national dwelling values fell -1.0 percent in November, marking the smallest monthly decline since June.

The drop represents a -7.0 percent decline – or about $53,400 –  since the peak value recorded in April 2022. Research director at CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said the Sydney and Melbourne markets are leading the way, with the capital cities experiencing the most significant falls. But it’s not all bad news for homeowners.

“Three months ago, Sydney housing values were falling at the monthly rate of -2.3 percent,” he said. “That has now reduced by a full percentage point to a decline of -1.3 percent in November.  In July, Melbourne home values were down -1.5 percent over the month, with the monthly decline almost halving last month to -0.8%.”

The rate of decline has also slowed in the smaller capitals, he said.  

“Potentially we are seeing the initial uncertainty around buying in a higher interest rate environment wearing off, while persistently low advertised stock levels have likely contributed to this trend towards smaller value falls,” Mr Lawless said. “However, it’s fair to say housing risk remains skewed to the downside while interest rates are still rising and household balance sheets become more thinly stretched.” 

The RBA has raised the cash rate from 0.10 in April  to 2.85 in November. The board is due to meet again next week, with most experts still predicting a further increase in the cash rate of 25 basis points despite the fall in house values.

Mr Lawless said if interest rates continue to increase, there is potential for declines to ‘reaccelerate’.

“Next year will be a particular test of serviceability and housing market stability, as the record-low fixed rate terms secured in 2021 start to expire,” Mr Lawless said.

Statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics this week also reveal a slowdown in the rate of inflation last month, as higher mortgage repayments and cost of living pressures bite into household budgets.

However, ABS data reveals ongoing labour shortages and high levels of construction continues to fuel higher prices for new housing, although the rate of price growth eased in September and October. 

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