Clearance rate hits pre-Covid high as volumes continue to lift

The combined capital city clearance rate has rebounded to its highest level since early March, surpassing the 70 per cent mark as volumes also show signs of improving.

This week, 613 auctions were scheduled across the capitals, marking an increase on previous weeks and returning a promising clearance rate of 70.9 per cent.

CoreLogic notes this was the highest preliminary result seen since early March, right before restrictions to onsite auctions and inspections were announced.

“While volumes were higher week-on-week, they remain significantly lower than what we would usually see, with 2055 homes taken to auction over the same week last year,” they continued.


While volumes remain subdued across all capital cities, Sydney has been the busiest auction market over seven of the last eight weeks.

There were 319 Sydney homes scheduled for auction this week, returning a preliminary clearance rate of 77.9 per cent. This marked an improvement on the week prior of 66.9 per cent when volumes were a lower 194.


In Melbourne, 160 auctions were scheduled across the city this week, returning a preliminary auction clearance rate of 72 per cent, higher than the 57.3 per cent last week when 127 auctions were scheduled.

“One year ago, clearance rates were lower across both of the largest capital cities, coming in around the early 60 per cent mark. However, volumes were significantly higher across both cities,” CoreLogic said.

The other capitals

Across the smaller capital cities, Canberra returned the highest preliminary result with a 73.2 per cent success rate across 61 auctions, while Adelaide and Brisbane returned clearance rates below 50 per cent.

“Given it’s been a few weeks since the ban for onsite auctions and inspections were lifted, agents and vendors have had the chance to start implementing marketing campaigns, and we are likely to see volumes gradually increase each week,” CoreLogic predicted.

Domain results

Domain also reported a higher volume of properties going to auction nationally, with a clearance rate that also improved on last week, particularly in Melbourne.

Their results indicate 397 properties were listed for auction nationally, 278 auction results were reported, 205 properties sold for a collective value of $165.1 million and only 27 were withdrawn. That equated to a clearance rate 67.2 per cent, compared to last week’s result of 61.9 per cent.

Last week just 285 properties were listed, 175 auctions were reported, 133 properties sold to the collective value of $98 million, and 40 properties were withdrawn.

Compared to the same week last year, this week’s volumes were significantly lower, but again the clearance rate was higher. In the same week in 2019, 1767 properties were listed for auction nationally, 1428 results were reported, 871 properties sold for a collective value of $900.4 million and 154 properties were withdrawn for a clearance rate of 55.1 per cent.

This week it was Melbourne where the major jump in clearance occurred, with the rate finishing almost 20 per cent higher than the week prior at 70.1 per cent. It came off the back of 102 properties listed, 72 results reported, 54 properties sold for a collective value of $38.9 million and five properties withdrawn.

In the same week last year, 938 Melbourne properties were listed for auction, 780 results were reported, 471 properties sold for a collective value of $444.9 million, and just 43 ere withdrawn.

In Sydney volumes were up, but the clearance rate fell slightly. This week 247 properties were listed for auction, 168 were reported, 125 properties sold for a collective value of $112.2 million and 19 were withdrawn for a clearance rate of 66.8 per cent.

The standout sale in terms of value was a property at Palm Beach, which Ray White successfully auctioned for $4.35 million (more details on that below).

Last week in Sydney, 152 properties were listed for auction, 95 were reported, 76 sold to the value of $65.1 million and 11 were withdrawn for a clearance rate of 71.7 per cent.

Meanwhile, in the same week last year, there were 589 properties listed for auction in Sydney, 455 auction results were reported, 308 properties sold to the value of $395.6 million and just 90 properties were withdrawn

Ray White results

Ray White enjoyed a number of standout sales as buyers flocked back to the auction market this weekend.

Noting the results indicated buyer confidence is back and the time to sell is now, the group reported a preliminary clearance rate of 73.3 per cent, with Melbourne stealing the show with an initial clearance rate of 72.2 per cent, while Sydney was not far behind on 70 per cent.

Ray White Group Managing Director Dan White said the preliminary clearance rate represented a fantastic result in any market.

“Despite all the speculation, we prefer to talk to our customers about what is happening now. The fact is, this month, we’re on track to have more registered bidders per auction than we’ve ever had,” Mr White said.

“We’re averaging 4.6 registrations nationally, with Sydney at 6.5, and Melbourne at 5.1.

“So far in May, our national auction campaign clearance rate sits at 53 per cent, which is only marginally down from the 57 per cent recorded in the peak 2019 spring selling season.

“Some of our vendor customers will be more concerned about future risks than others. For those who are less concerned, now is an opportunistic time to take advantage of the low supply of property for sale, and the strong demand from buyers.”

New South Wales

Ray White NSW Chief Auctioneer Alex Pattaro said this weekend was arguably one of the strongest auction Saturdays he had seen since before the Covid-19 Pandemic.

“Buyers are circling the market in their dozens with one open home today notching up a whopping 54 groups – while adhering to physical distancing requirements,” Mr Pattaro said.

“We’re seeing an average of six registered bidders per auction – with three of them raising their paddles. With competition and such great sales, the shortage of stock really is puzzling.”

The undisputed highlight of the day was the incredible sale at the home of Home and Away as Ray White Prestige Palm Beach Principal Noel Nicholson and Sales Executive Tom Fernon managed the $4,350,000 sale of 91 Florida Road resulting in a whopping $350,000 over reserve.

“The team ran a faultless campaign throughout with strong inspection numbers and then a meticulous follow-up of the interested parties ahead of auction day,” Mr Nicholson said.

“We had nine contracts out before the auction and had four registered bidders on the day. Three of those bidders competed ferociously to really drive up the final sale price.

“Our sales this month have been the biggest ever and buyers just completely understand the importance of Palm Beach as a whole – they’re turning their dreams into a reality here.

“There was a huge amount of work and communication going on behind the scenes to make this result possible and the vendors are understandably ecstatic.”


Ray White Victoria/Tasmania Chief Auctioneer Matt Condon said confidence in the Victorian real estate market continued to strengthen.

“Our preliminary data shows us there’s been an increase in the number of scheduled auctions and the number of registered bidders per auction,” Mr Condon said.

“Today, we’ve seen properties sell online, on-site, and a hybrid in some cases. But most important is that no matter what method was used, we achieved exceptional results in a safe environment.”


In Queensland, Chief Auctioneer Mitch Peereboom said he was proud to report there was an average of 3.4 registered bidders per auction.

“This has translated into a preliminary clearance rate – when you take into account under the hammer and sold prior – of just over 53 per cent with a number of properties transacting straight afterwards as well, with buyers and sellers wanting things finalised,” Mr Peereboom said.

“If you’re looking at coming to the market, we know there are less listings. This means buyers have less choice and that’s translating into buyer interest actually being stronger.”

South Australia

Ray White SA Chief Auctioneer John Morris said despite low auction numbers across the state, the group still maintained a preliminary share of over 40 per cent.

“The initial auction day clearance rate for the week sits at 66.7 per cent with average bidder numbers remaining high at an average of 7.3 per auction,” Mr Morris said.

“Next week is looking much healthier with 30 auctions scheduled to take place across the state and a whopping 43.5 per cent of these will be held by the Ray White Group.”

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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”.