Home seller growth eases

Australian residential property listings feel the weight of COVID-19

12 May 2020 | Dr Andrew Wilson, My Housing Market (Image: Greg Rivers)

The recent post-Easter revival in home sellers has proved to be short-lived with growth levels easing over recent days.

The National Newly Listed Homes Index – exclusive to My Housing Market that tracks the number of homes newly listed for sale over the past week on a daily basis – reports that the 67.43 result recorded for Sunday May 10 was nearly 5 points lower than the previous Sunday with an early declining trend emerging since mid-week.

Although recent growth levels have eased, the Index is now 18.9% lower than recorded over the same time last year compared to the 27.2% differential reported a week ago.

This improvement however is due to the impact on new seller sentiment of the Federal Election campaign that was formally underway at this time last year.

Despite the recent decline in new seller growth levels, the outlook for the housing market has improved with further easing of lockdown restrictions.

CoreLogic Data reports

The combined capital city preliminary auction clearance rate bounced back above 60% for the first time since late March, with 64.5% of homes selling this week.

The higher clearance rate was across a lower volume of auctions over the week with 473 scheduled, down on the 612 auctions over the week prior when a preliminary clearance rate of 59.6% was recorded, later revising down by final result to 47.5%.

Of the 333 results collected this week, 22% returned a withdrawn result, well below the withdrawal rate of 56% recorded a few weeks ago when a much larger number of auctions were scheduled to proceed.

The lower withdrawal rate is the main factor driving an improvement in clearance rates, however we are also seeing a recent trend towards a higher proportion of homes selling ‘at’ auction, rather than prior to the event, implying vendors are becoming more willing to test the market under auction conditions.

With news over the week that the ban on on-site auctions and inspections as a result of COVID-19 would now be lifted in NSW, WA and more recently announced in SA and Qld, along with a broader relaxation of social distancing policies, there’s likely to be a lift in confidence and volumes over the coming weeks.

Dr Andrew Wilson is Chief Economist of My Housing Market