The housing market experienced both its usual slow start to the year and its busiest week on record in the March quarter, according to CoreLogic. Clearance rates rose slightly while the number of auctions held decreased compared to the December 2017 quarter.
House prices across the combined capital cities are down 1.1% from the start of the year, led by Sydney where prices have dropped by 2.0%. The rental market has also softened, according to CoreLogic. CommSec reported that loans for renovations have hit 3-year lows, potentially led by falling house prices.
CoreLogic expects the trends to continue.
“Weaker auction clearance rates are anticipated to persist, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, due to tighter lending policies and falling dwelling values,” CoreLogic’s research analyst Cameron Kusher said in a statement released with the data report.
Combined capital city results
- The clearance rate was 64.6%, compared to 62.3% in the December 2017 quarter and 74.8% in the March 2017 quarter
- 20,701 homes were auctioned in the March 2018 quarter, down from the 32,408 auctioned in December 2017 but up on the March 2017 quarter’s 19,241
- The week ending 25 March was the busiest on record, with 3,990 homes taken to auction
Across Sydney in the March 2018 quarter:
- 7,755 homes were auctioned compared with 11,252 held in the December 2017 quarter but up from the 6,966 held a year before in the March 2017 quarter
- The clearance rate was 63.6%, higher than the December 2017 quarter rate of 57.7% but lower than the March 2017 quarter rate of 77.9%
Across Melbourne in the March 2018 quarter:
- 9,488 auctions were held, compared with 15,768 held in the December 2017 quarter and 8,664 held in the March 2017 quarter
- The clearance rate was 68.4%, compared with the December 2017 rate of 68.1% and 78.5% in the March quarter 2017
Clearance rates in Perth and Tasmania fell, Perth down to 34.7% and Tasmania down to 51%.
Brisbane’s 1,247 auctions over the quarter had a clearance rate of 49% and Adelaide was at 65.7% with 961 auctions and Canberra had 808 auctions with a clearance rate of 67.9%.
In the non-capital cities
Across the non-capital city markets monitored by CoreLogic, Wollongong was the only region to record a fall in the auction clearance rate over the March quarter. The Hunter region saw the biggest increase in clearance rates when compared to the previous quarter.
Geelong was the best performing region in terms of clearance rates with 83.3%, while the Gold Coast recorded the lowest clearance rate for the quarter at 40.6%, despite being the busiest region in terms of auction volumes, with 770.
The CoreLogic March quarter data is based on results from 1 January 2018, to 1 April 2018.