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New listings suffer as sellers err on the side of caution

The seasonal uptick in property listings that usually occurs in the first half of March has been noticeably absent this year, with sellers having “erred on the side of caution” amidst declining property prices.

CoreLogic Research Director Asia Pacific Tim Lawless said this year 8721 new listings were added to the market between March 11 and 19, down 27.3 per cent compared to last year and 21.3 per cent below the previous five-year average.

He said new listings nationally have been tracking 18 per cent below 2022 levels, which has helped support property prices.

“The lower than average flow of fresh stock added to the market is likely to be a key factor supporting housing values,” Mr Lawless said.

“For the past month, CoreLogic’s Daily Home Value Index (HVI) has shown in some cities a lack of new stock has stemmed the decline in values. 

“Sydney housing values in particular are up 0.9 per cent over the past 28 days, just as the volume of new listings falls almost 40 per cent year-on-year. It’s a similar story for Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane where housing values are edging slightly higher, or have steadied.”

Source: CoreLogic

No surge ahead

Mr Lawless said there was a good chance the flow of new listings had moved through a seasonal peak. 

“Historically, weeks nine to eleven mark the seasonal high point in the flow of new listings before the trend eases leading into Easter and the cooler months,” he said.

“Activity across CoreLogic’s RP Data platform, where real estate agents generate reports to prepare properties for sale, has consistently tracked below levels of the past two years and is once again trending down, indicating fewer properties are being prepared for sale. 

“The year-to-date has seen 14.9 per cent fewer real estate agent reports generated relative to the same time last year.”

According to Mr Lawless, the decline in new listings is something seen predominantly in the larger capital city markets.

New listings in Sydney are 13.2 per cent below the previous five-year average and almost 23 per cent lower than a year ago.

Melbourne’s new listings are also down 12.3 per cent compared to the five-year average and 23.4 per cent lower than last year.

While new listings in Brisbane are 17.8 per cent lower than the five-year average and almost 20 per cent lower than 2022 levels.

“It seems prospective vendors in these cities are doing their best to wait out the downturn, preferring to hold off on their selling decisions until conditions improve and some certainty returns to their decision-making,” Mr Lawless said.

Smaller cities bucking the trend

In contrast, the smaller capital cities appear to be bucking the trend, led by Hobart, Darwin and the ACT. 

In Hobart, where advertised stock levels are rising from a low benchmark, new listings are up 6.2 per cent on the previous five-year average and 8.9 per cent higher than the same period a year ago. 

New listings are 7.5 per cent higher than average in Darwin (but almost 20 per cent lower than a year ago and well below the highs recorded in 2014 and 2015) and 2 per cent higher across the ACT (but almost 11 per cent lower than a year ago).

Mr Lawless said the volume of new listings that come onto the market over the remainder of the year will be a key determinant of property prices.

“Watching the ebb and flow of new listings will be a key factor in the performance of this year’s housing market,” he said.

“Arguably there has been an accrual of pent-up supply since September 2022 as prospective vendors delay their selling decisions, possibly frustrating buyers with a shortage of options. 

“However, any sign of a rebound in new stock on the market could trigger renewed downwards pressure on housing values, unless the increase was absorbed by a commensurate uplift in buying activity.”

Source: CoreLogic

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.