Upcoming auction listings in Sydney have fallen by 29 per cent for September from a year ago, while Melbourne recorded more than a 12-fold increase, albeit from a low base, data from SQM Research shows.
For the first four weeks of the spring selling season, a total of 2106 Sydney homes have been scheduled for auction, down from 2978 in the same period last year.
Melbourne has posted a total of 1811 auction listings, a sharp rise from just 140 from a year ago, when the city was under a hard lockdown.
Compared to the same period in 2019 before the pandemic, auction listings in Sydney were down by 10.5 per cent while Melbourne slumped by 36.2 per cent.
SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said vendors were still planning to go to auctions over the course of September, but they remained cautious due to the uncertainties of the lockdowns.
“It’s a very difficult and uncertain time for vendors at the moment,” he said.
“We could see very large clearance rates come through quite easily, or we could see increased positivity, as we get close to the 70 per cent vaccination rate, and more, [and] so called ‘freedoms’ are announced.
“Obviously, what transpires is another matter altogether, as the clearance rates have been falling in Melbourne in particular, while Sydney was being supported by a very high ratio of solid priors.”
In the first week of September, auction listings in Sydney have risen by 1 per cent, but fall by the same amount in the following week.
By the third week, auction listings fall by 19 per cent to 602 scheduled auctions. So far only 162 homes were due to be auctioned by the end of the month as some listings were yet to be finalised.
Sydney-based auctioneer Clarence White said rather than seeing a flood of auction listings, he was seeing a trickle.
“We’re definitely seeing more activity, but not a massive rise in auction listings,” he said.
“We’re only starting to get bookings for late September, so there’s a sign of life, but it’s still not up to the same volume we were seeing before the lockdown.
“In May I was booking out Saturdays six weeks in advance, now agents are calling me a couple of weeks out to book, so we’ve got more capacity. I’d say vendors are cautiously optimistic.”
With NSW and Victoria in lockdown, the market was set for a slower start to spring said Nerida Conisbee, Ray White chief economist.
“This is also likely to be the case in states not locked down as well,” she said.
“Although buyer sentiment doesn’t seem to be impacted all that much anywhere, lockdowns are impacting seller sentiment everywhere.”
Sydney drought set to break
But there were signs the worst might be over for the listings drought in Sydney.
The comparative market analysis (CMA) by CoreLogic found that while the pre-market activities by selling agents have dropped by 18.5 per cent since the start of the Greater Sydney lockdown through the week ending August 27, it seemed to have reached the bottom.
The CMA is a leading indicator of the number of new listings added to the market, as they are generated by agents in preparation for winning listings.
Eliza Owen, CoreLogic Australia head of research, said this was unsurprising given the decline in transaction activity that has come to be associated with lockdown conditions.
“What is a little more surprising is that in NSW, CMA activity seems to have bottomed out at the week ending August 22, and has started to trend up,” she said.
“Across NSW, CMA activity lifted by about 5.8 per cent between August 22 and 27. This may point to a lift in new listings added to the market over the coming weeks.”
Ms Owen said new listings added to the market in Sydney have already risen in the 28 days to August 29 by 5.8 per cent on the previous four-week period.
This article is from Australian Financial Review, please click the following link for the original article: https://www.afr.com/property/residential/slow-start-to-spring-as-listings-drop-29pc-20210830-p58n1i