Housing prices are still rising and auction clearance rates are sky high but the real test of the market’s resilience is still to come.
Supply of homes on the market typically ramps up ahead of the Christmas/New Year break.
The latest weekly figures show 77.8 per cent of auctions in Australia’s mainland state capitals last week ended with a sale: the highest clearance rate since June 2015.
That was driven by the two major markets, with Sydney and Melbourne both boasting clearance rates of around 80 per cent, according to the CoreLogic property market figures.
But despite the apparent surge in demand signalled by the higher clearance rates, prices across the five mainland state capitals rose just 0.1 per cent for the week.
The average price was up by 5.9 per cent from a year earlier, the first time below six per cent for nearly three years, the figures showed.
The bellwether market of Sydney led the pack with a 9.1 per cent gain over the past year, with Melbourne not far behind at 6.7 per cent.
Those figures are much slower than this time last year, when annual growth in the the five-city average was 11.3 per cent, the Sydney market was up by 17.7 per cent and Melbourne was up by 12.3 per cent.
What’s more, the volume of homes being taken to market is lower.
There were 1,444 auctions listed for auction last week, down by a whopping 32 per cent from 2,118 on the corresponding week of last year.
Even taking the higher clearance rate into account, that still mens a sharp drop of about 29 per cent in the number of homes sold.
And the seasonal glut of homes has yet to hit the market: last year, between mid-August and early December, the number of homes going under the hammer rose by 76 per cent.
The test of the market’s resilience is not how it copes with the relatively small number of auctions held in late winter, but whether it stands up to the seasonal flood of supply – set to peak a little over three months from now.