Australian residential auction market records the busiest period in four years

The three months to June proved the busiest auction period since December 2017, according to new insight from CoreLogic.

The June CoreLogic Auction Market Review showed 31,605 homes were taken to auction across the combined capital cities in the three months to June 2021. 

This was the busiest quarter for auctions since the December 2017 quarter, when 32,408 capital city auctions were held.

In comparison, the March 2021 quarter saw 19,004 homes taken to auction. Unsurprisingly, the June 2020 quarter saw significantly lower auction activity with just 13,783 capital city homes taken to auction amid tightened restrictions.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said the auction market results through the June quarter reflect strong housing market conditions. 

“A combined capital city clearance rate of 75.7 per cent sits well above the historic average clearance rate of 63.5 per cent,” Ms Owen said.

“The strong result also coincided with a 6.2 per cent uplift in dwelling values across the combined capitals – well above the previous decade average quarterly growth rate of 1 per cent. 

“Despite the strong result, there has been an easing in the clearance rate from the March quarter, when 80 per cent of properties sold. This reflects a broader loss of momentum in the Australian housing market, as affordability constraints set in, and March looks to be a peak period of growth for the current cycle.”

Highlights from the review include auction clearance rates and volumes for Australia’s capital city sub-regions in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra.

Across Sydney 14 of the city’s 15 sub-regions recorded a fall in clearance rates when compared to the previous quarter as volumes increased substantially. Just four of the 15 sub-regions recorded quarterly clearance rates above 80 per cent, compared to 13 in the March quarter. 

Ms Owen said the slight loss in momentum in the auction market can be seen at the suburb level.

“This is particularly true of Sydney, where the clearance rate has dropped 6.1 percentage points in the quarter,” she said.

“The March quarter saw 100 per cent of auctions cleared across higher-priced, popular suburbs such as Coogee, Glebe and Cherrybrook in Sydney, where clearance rates have eased through the June quarter.

“There were two Sydney suburbs that still achieved a clearance rate of 100 per cent.”

Sydney was host to 12,780 auctions over the quarter, up from 7043 over the previous quarter and 6372 over the June 2020 quarter.

All nine sub-regions of Melbourne saw a substantial increase in auction volumes when compared to both the previous quarter and one year ago.

The city’s Inner region was the busiest, recording 2614 auctions in the three months to June, followed by the Inner South (1865), and the North East (1725). 

In terms of auction volumes, 13,693 dwellings went to auction across the city over the three months to June, up from 9065 compared to the March quarter and 5369 on the same quarter in 2020.

Brisbane’s auction figures showed that of the 1896 properties that went under the hammer during the quarter, 69.6 per cent sold with the inner east suburb of Camp Hill the busiest of all areas, recording 38 auctions for the period.

The highest clearance rate over the quarter was recorded in Canberra, where 88.3 per cent of properties sold under auction conditions.

Ms Owen said CoreLogic’s weekly auction data has showed Canberra as having the highest capital city clearance rate for 21 of the 24 weeks analysed through 2021 so far.

“High demand for housing in Canberra has stemmed from a relatively tight labour market and containment of COVID-19, against a backdrop of low mortgage rates and relatively low listings volumes.

“Owner occupiers remain highly active across the market, with ABS housing finance data pointing to secured finance for purchases sitting 93.5 per cent above the decade average.” 

A full city-by-city suburb analysis, where at least 20 auction results were reported over the quarter, can be found in the June CoreLogic Auction Market Review.

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