Auction clearance rate lower as markets navigate lockdowns

The volume of properties taken to auction was slightly higher this week, but the clearance rate dropped marginally as the most popular markets navigated lockdown.

CoreLogic notes 1918 homes were taken to auction across the combined capital cities this week, which was up on the 1606 properties slated for auction last week, but was lower than the 2139 originally expected.

Over the same week last year, 1046 auctions were held across the combined capitals.

“Of the 1523 results collected so far, 72.3 per cent were successful, down from the previous week’s preliminary clearance rate of 76.4 per cent, which revised down to 74.0 per cent at final figures,” CoreLogic said.

“This time last year, 58.4 per cent of reported auctions were successful.”


With Melbourne’s lockdown extended, there were 954 auctions held across the city this week, which was lower than the 1131 originally scheduled.

“Despite almost 16 per cent of Melbourne auctions being postponed to another date, we still saw a substantial rise in auctions held compared with the previous week when 662 homes were taken to auction,” CoreLogic explained.

“This time last year, just 191 auctions were held.”

Of the 727 results collected so far this week, 63 per cent were successful, with a large number of withdrawn auctions (31.6 per cent) dragging the preliminary clearance rate lower.

Of the 458 sold results collected so far, 52.6 per cent were sold prior to auction. This was the highest ‘sold prior’ rate since the first week of June.

The previous week recorded a significantly higher preliminary auction clearance rate of 73.5 per cent, revising down to 69.1 per cent by final collection on Wednesday.

“Melbourne’s final clearance rate hasn’t dipped below 60 per cent since October last year so it will be interesting to see how this week holds up as final results are collected,” CoreLogic said.


Sydney saw 562 properties taken to auction, similar to the previous week (564), although lower than this time last year (668).

Of the 496 results collected so far, 82.9 per cent were successful, while 11.1 per cent were withdrawn and 5.7 per cent were postponed to a later date.

Of the 411 sold results, 61.6 per cent were sold prior to the scheduled auction date.

Last week, Sydney’s preliminary auction clearance rate was a lower 80.4 per cent, revising down to 77.6 per cent at final figures.

The smaller capitals

Adelaide was the best performing capital city auction market this week, with a preliminary auction clearance rate of 84.8 per cent.

Canberra, which has typically recorded the highest clearance rates this year, recorded a preliminary clearance rate of 81.9 per cent, with 45.8 per cent of successful auctions selling prior to the event as vendors chose to accept offers during the lockdown.

In Brisbane, 74.6 per cent of reported auctions were successful, while Perth recorded a preliminary clearance rate of 70 per cent, although volumes were low.

Domain results

Domain’s data indicated the national preliminary clearance rate dropped this week as lockdowns and restrictions extended further across the country.

Their figures had the current preliminary clearance rate at 67.2 per cent after 1872 properties were listed for auction this weekend.

So far, results are in for 1213 of those auctions, with 815 properties selling (to the value of $666.2 million), while 343 properties were withdrawn.

Last week, the final clearance rate settled at 73.2 per cent after 2104 properties were taken to auction.

Results were provided for 1257 of those auctions, with 920 properties selling (to the value of $742.2 million), while 208 properties were withdrawn.

This time last year, the clearance rate was 60.1 per cent after only 676 properties were taken to auction.

Results were provided for 672 of those auctions, with 404 properties selling (to the value of $496.7 million), while 130 properties were withdrawn.


Despite ongoing lockdowns, Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate remained an encouraging 82.8 per cent, but volume was lower with only 472 properties taken to auction.

So far, results are in for 373 of those auctions, with 309 properties selling (to the value of $312.1 million), while 49 properties were withdrawn.

Last week’s final clearance rate was 78.8 per cent after 532 properties were taken to auction.

Results were provided for 468 of those auctions, with 369 properties selling (to the value of $363.5 million), while 58 properties were withdrawn.

This time last year, Sydney’s clearance rate was 61.8 per cent after 489 properties were taken to auction.

Results were provided for 476 of those auctions, with 294 properties selling (to the value of $409.9 million), while 86 properties were withdrawn.


Melbourne bore the brunt of a lockdown-induced lower clearance rate, with just over half of all auctions successful so far.

This week’s data had the initial success rate at 54.6 per cent after 1138 properties were taken to auction.

So far, results are in for 663 of those auctions, with 362 properties selling (to the value of $267.4 million), while 275 properties were withdrawn.

Last week, Melbourne’s final success rate was 65.5 per cent after 1305 properties were taken to auction.

Results were provided for 577 of those auctions, with 378 properties selling (to the value of $251.3 million), while 131 properties were withdrawn.

This time last year, Melbourne’s clearance rate was 57.1 per cent after around 100 properties were taken to auction. Of those, 64 sold (to the value of $52.9 million), while 39 were withdrawn.

Ray White results

The Ray White group noted auction sellers were continuing to capitalise on high buyer demand, incredible price growth and a shortage of stock that has left them with less competition in the market.

The group recorded a national clearance rate of 84 per cent of the 124 auctions conducted at the weekend.

Average registered and active bidder numbers came in at 8.6 and 4.3 respectively, proving that buyers have remained undeterred by the lockdowns affecting the country.

Ray White Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee said intense competition for property has remained strong this winter.

“Prices have accelerated far more quickly through COVID-19 than they otherwise would have, driven by a combination of exceptionally high savings rates partly as a result of huge government stimulus and record low finance,” Ms Conisbee said.

“While sellers are holding out, we have not seen a similar hit on buyer demand. With fewer auctions taking place, the average number of active bidders nationally in July was at 3.7 per property.

“And the gap between highest price offered before auction and price sold at auction remains more than 12 per cent in August to date.”

Summing up, Ms Conisbee said buyers remained cashed up and keen to buy.

Stock levels have declined giving buyers fewer choices and creating strong competition. Conditions in the short term point to a seller’s market, however Ms Conisbee noted “this is a dynamic market with so many factors at play”.

In Sydney, Ms Conisbee said Ray White saw more listings in June than they had ever seen in that month. They were up 24 per cent compared to the previous year and up 90 per cent compared to June 2019.

“It was expected that this would calm the supercharged price growth we were seeing,” she said.

“The lockdown then hit at the start of July and listings were down 26 per cent in that month compared to June and 23 per cent down compared to last July.

“Sellers have become more hesitant over lockdown and this has also impacted the number of auctions proceeding with many moving to private sale or selling prior.”

New South Wales

Ray White New South Wales Chief Auctioneer Alex Pattaro said high density unit stock was lagging slightly behind the housing market but he continues to see strong house prices and competition across Ray White auctions.

“Auction day prices are exceeding buyer indication levels, helping sellers obtain a price well above their expectations,” Mr Pattaro said.

“There is no doubt that we are in a seller’s market and if sellers were hoping to achieve a particular price for their home, based on our data and what we are seeing, now would be the best time to come to the market.”


In Melbourne, it was a case of deja-vu with restrictions in Melbourne once again extended and a stop to all physical real estate activity.

With another seven day period of no onsite auctions or inspections within Melbourne, it was pleasing to see agents back at work in regional Victoria to once again assist customers with their property needs.

Ray White Victoria and Tasmania CEO Stephen Dullens explained how challenging these restrictions are for communities in Melbourne.

“With physical inspections in Melbourne now only allowed for nine of the past 30 days, we are once again hearing from customers with an urgent need to buy, sell or lease property. With customers unable to inspect property, this is making the task extremely challenging,” Mr Dullens said.

“As it worked so well last year, we would again welcome the opportunity to engage with the government on how we can best assist Victorians with an urgent property need, most importantly in a safe manner.”

In the auction space, Ray White Victoria Chief Auctioneer Matthew Condon said given the extension of the lockdown and the limited time buyers had to inspect properties, this week had seen significantly less auction volume than usual.

“However, the low supply of property available, combined with the extremely high level of buyer demand this weekend created conditions that are conducive towards sellers achieving exceptional results,” Mr Condon said

“Based on preliminary data from the Ray White Group, Victoria recorded one of its highest averages of registered and active bidders this weekend. This was evident at all online auctions, with bidders bidding very aggressively and doing everything possible to secure their desired property.

“It’s great to see that sellers that chose to continue with their auctions online today, despite the extension of the lockdown, were rewarded with great prices.”


In Brisbane, Ray White Queensland Chief Auctioneer Gavin Croft said auctions across the state continued to record outstanding prices this week.

“The Gold Coast in particular has seen some great sales this week but auctions in Brisbane have also been well attended,” Mr Croft said.

“We are not seeing the same spike in volume of properties coming to market that we would usually see as we move into spring but there is no doubt that buyer numbers have remained strong.

“Competition from buyers is fierce and with low stock it means sellers who come to market now are achieving above expectation prices.”

South Australia

In Adelaide, Ray White South Australia Chief Auctioneer John Morris said Australia’s greatest athletes might be back from Tokyo and in extended quarantine, but Ray White’s greatest agents were out and about on Saturday, whether it be online or onsite all the way throughout Australia.

“In Adelaide, we are very lucky to be able to hold onsite auctions and we’re holding 23.4 per cent of them this weekend,” Mr Morris said.

“Last week we had a clearance rate of 93.5 per cent, with over 10 registered bidders per auction and every single auction last week had bidding. That has slightly dropped off this week with 12.5 per cent of auctions not having any bidding.”

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.