Fewer properties being auctioned, higher clearances rates and rising prices. It’s a familiar story but one that has put the market into a vulnerable position.
Early results from the weekly count by housing market analysts CoreLogic shows that 76.6 per cent of homes going under the hammer over the week to Sunday were sold.
That’s well up from the already-high level of 72.9 per cent in the corresponding week of last year.
But the number of homes going under the hammer is down.
It’s a situation suggesting the market is becoming increasingly exposed to the whims of relatively fewer keen buyers.
In the past week, there were 1,747 auctions in Australia’s state and territory capital cities, down by a massive 34 per cent from the matching week of 2015.
Despite the higher clearance rate, these figures imply a 31 per cent drop in the number of completed sales.
So, the fall in the number of keen, or cashed-up, buyers has been neatly matched by a fall in the number of sellers.
The housing boom is still playing to packed houses, but has moved to smaller venues.
And in fewer cities, too.
In the past week, only one city boasted an auction clearance rate above the average – Sydney, where an extraordinarily high 86.4 per cent of auctions culminated in a sale.
And Sydney was the only mainland state capital to record a rise in average price, a gain of 0.6 per cent and enough to lift the five-city average by 0.2 per cent.
Annual price rises are also skewed in favour of Sydney, with a 9.0 per cent rise from a year ago.
Melbourne, where prices were steady last week, was next with a 7.2 per cent annual price rise.
In Brisbane, prices fell by 0.1 per cent last week but rose 4.7 per cent over the year.
The Adelaide market dropped 0.9 per cent last week but was still up by a modest 3.0 per cent through the year.
Prices in Perth continue to suffer the fallout from the mining boom’s implosion, with a fall of 0.2 per cent last week and a drop 6.7 per cent through the year.