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May the busiest auction month on record: Domain

May was the busiest auction month on record, according to a recent report by Domain.

Released on Friday, the Domain Auction Report for May report found Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide saw the largest number of auctions scheduled in a single month since Domain records began.

Meanwhile, Canberra’s clearance rate continued to break new record highs, nudging to 90 per cent for the first time, and Brisbane’s clearance rate slid marginally over the month, although the result is still the third highest on record for the city.

Domain noted clearance rates in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Adelaide improved in May on the previous months’ results.

Houses continue to be the driving force behind the clearance rate surge outperforming units across every capital city. 

In May, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide saw the largest number of auctions scheduled in a single month since Domain records began.

Domain records began for NSW in 1995, in Victoria 1997, in Queensland 2001, in Canberra 1999, and in South Australia and Western Australia 2002.

Capital Cities

CityClearance RateAuctions ScheduledAuction SoldPassed InSold PriorWithdrawn
Sydney77.3%5486395648534.5%13.2%
Melbourne72.2%6112404085623.4%12.6%
Brisbane67.2%68836213427.1%8%
Adelaide76.2%72346210023.6%7.3%
Canberra89.8%4003272522.8%3.3%
Geographies are based on ABS GCCSA geography. Auction reporting rates are above 91 per cent across all capitals apart from Brisbane at 78 per cent and Adelaide at 83 per cent. Source: Domain

Houses

CityClearance RateSold PriorWithdrawnMedian Price
Sydney78.2%30.8%11.9%$1,783,500
Melbourne73.7%22.5%11.3%$1,150,000
Brisbane68%27.6%7.6%$1,080,000
Adelaide76.7%23.4%6.3%$740,500
Canberra91%22.6%2%$978,000

Units

CityClearance RateSold PriorWithdrawnMedian Price
Sydney75%44.1%16.5%$1,010,000
Melbourne67%26.6%16.6%$706,000
Brisbane59.2%22.4%12.2%$529,000
Adelaide67.6%26.5%23.5%$467,000
Canberra84.1%23.8%9.5%$650,000

Sydney

Sydney’s auction clearance rate rose in May to 77.3 per cent, however it remains 4.1 percentage points lower than the near six-year high reached in March.

Despite clearance rates softening, this is the strongest May clearance rate in six years. In fact, this was when Sydney’s clearance rate peaked at an all-time record high of 83.3 per cent. During this time, overall Sydney house and unit prices soared annually by 24 per cent and 17 per cent respectively.

Greater Sydney RegionClearance rateAnnual Change
Central Coast72.6%44.8ppt
Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury68.9%23.9ppt
Blacktown68.4%3.2ppt
City and Inner South77.4%13.2ppt
Eastern Suburbs81.8%22.5ppt
Inner South West75.5%12.8ppt
Inner West79.8%15.5ppt
North Sydney and Hornsby82.8%26ppt
Northern Beaches84.1%19.8ppt
Outer South West66.7%66.7ppt
Outer West and Blue Mountains62.1%62.1ppt
Parramatta70.4%17ppt
Ryde77.5%25.5ppt
South West69.3%15.3ppt
Sutherland83.7%35.9ppt

As expected, auction volumes doubled over the month of May, exceeding April numbers which were heavily influenced by public holidays.

The number of auctions scheduled in May 2021 was exceptionally strong, 129 per cent higher than the May decade average. This suggests sellers could be reacting to strong property price growth and a rebounding economy. 

May was a milestone for Sydney’s auction market with the largest number of auctions scheduled in a single month since Domain records began for NSW in 1995. While buyers may be finding greater choice, clearance rates have remained elevated, and this may be a clear sign that the heated market conditions are here to stay for the time being.

House clearance rates have now outperformed unit clearance rates for 12 consecutive months. The difference between house and unit clearance rates does appear to be narrowing.

For houses and units, this month’s clearance rate is the strongest May result in six years, with 78.2 per cent of reported house auctions finding a buyer, and 75 per cent of unit auctions securing a sale.

In May, the median auction price for Sydney houses jumped 28.3 per cent over the year for houses to $1.783 million, a new record high for Sydney. Meanwhile, the median auction price for units rose annually by 12.6 per cent to $1.01 million, remaining lower than the $1.035 million peak reached in March. Rising auction prices are another sign of a heated property market. For houses, median auction prices have been rising steadily since late 2019, and since December 2020 for units.

Melbourne

Melbourne’s auction clearance rate improved in May to 72.2 per cent, 2.3 percentage points higher than last month but still lower than the four-year high reached in March.

This is the strongest May clearance rate in four years, and comes despite the final weekend in May being impacted by the snap lockdown to contain COVID outbreaks. 

Melbourne’s auction market has been fairly consistent throughout 2021, with clearance rates holding between the range of 70-74 per cent.

Greater Melbourne RegionClearance rateAnnual Change
Inner70.5%8.7ppt
Inner East71.0%15.4ppt
Inner South77.4%12.4ppt
North East75.4%40.5ppt
North West69.4%27.6ppt
Outer East73.7%33.1ppt
South East70.9%32.1ppt
West66.3%38.8ppt
Mornington Peninsula80.3%49.8ppt

As expected, auction volumes doubled over the month of May, exceeding April numbers which were heavily influenced by public holidays.

There were over 6000 auctions scheduled over May, the largest volume of auctions scheduled over a single month since Domain records began in 1997 for Victoria. The number of auctions scheduled in May 2021 was exceptionally strong – 109 per cent higher than the May decade average.

This suggests sellers are reacting to strong property price growth, a rebounding economy, improved consumer sentiment and pent-up demand and supply following extensive lockdowns experienced last year. Future auction volumes may be impacted if lockdowns extend beyond the two weeks already announced.

House clearances have outperformed units for the 10th month in a row. The difference between house and unit clearance rates has marginally narrowed. The house-unit clearance rate was almost 10 per cent last month, dropping to almost 7 per cent in May. Although houses clearly remain the standout performer.

In April, the median auction price for Melbourne houses jumped 17.9 per cent over the year to $1.15 million. The median auction price for units increased 7.6 per cent year-on-year to $706,000. House and unit auction prices are just below the record highs reached in March.

Canberra

Canberra’s auction market continues to provide robust results. Another milestone was reached over May with clearance rates peaking at almost 90 per cent, the highest since Domain records began in 1999.

This is despite auction volumes rising to the highest level since late 2019.

Clearance rates have been hovering close to 90 per cent for three consecutive months. It is rare to record a monthly clearance rate even above 80 per cent, occurring only seven times since Domain records for Canberra began.

Clearance rateAnnual change
Belconnen92.8%15.8ppt
Gungahlin86.4%19.7ppt
North Canberra90.5%28ppt
South Canberra96.8%42.2ppt
Tuggeranong92.2%*
Weston Creek96.7%46.7ppt
Woden Valley84%26.9ppt

This highlights the extraordinary performance of the local auction market and the competitive conditions prospective buyers face.

For houses, clearance rates have held at or above 90 per cent for three consecutive months for the first time on record. May’s result of 91 per cent is slightly lower than last month.

This year is the only time since Domain records began that house clearances have pushed over 90 per cent. While fewer units tend to be auctioned compared to houses, the outcome improved for sellers over May, at 84.1 per cent. This is the strongest result for units since February 2020.

The median auction price for Canberra houses hit a new record high, jumping by double digits compared to the same time last year, reaching $978,000. House auction prices have been rising annually since mid last year.

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