The housing market looks pretty much the same as it did a month go – and that’s not normal.
Prices in the five mainland state capitals were unchanged, on average, last week while the auction clearance rate remained unusually high.
At this time of the year the rush of supply onto the market, as sellers race to unload their properties ahead of the holiday break, is usually depressing both prices and the clearance rate – the proportion of auctions ending with a sale.
But not this year.
The auction clearance rate over the week ending Sunday was 75 per cent, up from 73 per cent the week before, while in the corresponding week of 2015 it was only 57.3 per cent.
And, while prices did drop marginally over the preceding two weeks, the falls were small and they followed a couple of unusual early-November rises.
As a result, the five-city average is still marginally higher than it was at the end of October for the first time since 2013.
“This week’s auction market results indicate that clearance rates are maintaining strength coming into summer, a trend that is very different compared with last year’s performance when auction clearance rates were tracking in the high 50 per cent to low 60 per cent range,” CoreLogic said in its weekly market report.
Even Perth, carrying the dead weight of the collapsed mining investment boom, is showing signs of stabilising, with only a marginal fall of 0.1 per cent over the past three months, compared with a 1.8 per cent drop voer the same part of 2015, and an annual rate of decline of 3.0 per cent currently, compared with 4.5 per cent this time last year.
The average for the five capitals is 9.2 per cent, but Sydney remains the bellwether for the market, gaining 13.0 per cent in the year to December 4, compared with 11.0 per cent for Melbourne, 4.1 per cent for Brisbane/Gold Coast and 4.6 per cent for Adelaide.