Lockdowns Push Listings to Record Low


Listings fell by nearly 10 per cent in August as lockdowns derailed hundreds of auctions in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

The result was the lowest number of listings since 2010, according to SQM Research.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said listings had been particularly affected in Sydney, with a decline of almost 20 per cent.

In a sign that older stock is clearing, property listings over 180 days dropped by 10.3 per cent in August and are now down 53.2 per cent over the year, with monthly falls in all capital cities, led by Canberra.

“Older listings also had another monthly fall, indicating strong absorption rates across the country,” Christopher said.

“Going forward we are cautious for the market given the likely economic damage as a result of these latest city wide closures.”

Nationally, new listings—less than 30 days old—fell by 7.8 per cent, after rising 8 per cent over the year.

New listings dropped the most in Melbourne, by 31.2 per cent, followed by Canberra, down 21.2 per cent.

Total property listings

CityJuly 2021August 2021Monthly change %Yearly change %

^Source: SQM Research

Corelogic head of research Tim Lawless said home sales had also been affected, dropping by 9 per cent nationally during the three months ending August when compared to the previous three-month period.

“Although there has recently been a trend towards fewer buyers, the past three months has seen the number of home sales remain 30 per cent above the five-year average at a time when active listings are 29 per cent below average,” Lawless said.

“We are still seeing a disconnect between advertised supply and housing demand, even in the cities where lockdown restrictions are active which is keeping upwards pressure on housing prices despite challenges faced by both buyers and sellers.”

Both advertised supply and housing demand have been negatively affected during recent months.

In early May, newly advertised properties were tracking 19.7 per cent above the five-year average.

Lockdowns and seasonal factors have meant that the number of new listings through August dropped to 5.8 per cent below the five-year average and total active listings are 29.4 per cent below average.

“Auction clearance rates have trended lower, especially in Melbourne where a large proportion of auctions have been withdrawn from the market,” Lawless said.

“However, where properties have proceeded to market, the large majority are recording a successful result, albeit with a large proportion selling prior to the auction rather than under the hammer.”

For the first four weeks of the spring selling season, a total of 2100 Sydney homes have been scheduled for auction, down 29 per cent from the same period last year, while Melbourne has posted a total of 1800 auction listings.

The median number of days to sell a property is showing a mild upwards trend, however most cities, including those navigating extended lockdowns, are continuing to see homes sell in 30 to 35 days or less.

Vendor discounting rates remain at record lows which Lawless said implied most vendors “weren’t budging much” on their initial pricing expectations.

Sydney asking prices fell by 0.4 per cent for houses, yet rose by 4.2 per cent for units while asking prices for houses in Melbourne and Brisbane rose by 0.2 per cent and 2.3 per cent.

Adelaide asking prices for houses rose by 2.8 per cent, while units fell by 0.9 per cent.

Canberra, Darwin and Hobart asking prices for houses rose by 1 per cent, 2.1 per cent and 1.4 per cent.


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