Distressed Sellers Under Pressure as Listings Surge


Activity has begun to pick up in Australia’s property markets ahead of the typically busy spring season with new listings lifting by 10 per cent.

According to PropTrack’s monthly listings report, new homes hitting the market nationally were higher month-on-month in August, capping off the busiest winter for new listings in five years.

PropTrack economist Angus Moore said despite the lift, selling conditions had tempered from their very strong levels earlier in the year.

“Measures of buyer demand have moderated—it is taking longer to sell homes and auction clearance rates have fallen,” Moore said.

“A notable change heading into this spring compared to last year is that buyers have more properties to choose from. 

“The wave of new supply coming to market over the first half of the year, coupled with longer sales times, has lifted the stock available on market and helped make conditions a bit less competitive for buyers.

All capital cities saw more new listings in August compared to July, with Sydney up 16.1 per cent, Melbourne 13 per cent and Hobart 17.2 per cent.

Brisbane’s listings increased by 7.1 per cent, Adelaide 8.1 per cent, Perth 7.1 per cent, Darwin 8.1 per cent and Canberra 6.2 per cent.

Regional markets also began to bloom ahead of spring, with new listings picking up 7.9 per cent month-on-month in August—the fourth consecutive monthly increase.

The busier month for new listings helped lift the total stock of properties listed for sale nationally by 3.9 per cent month-on-month.

Following August’s result, Sydney, Melbourne, and Canberra all now have levels of total stock available for sale around or above their prior decade average.

▲ Hobart, which has experienced a recent surge in listing, is averaging a median of 17 days to sell a home in the year to July.

“While market conditions have changed, the fundamental drivers of demand remain strong, with unemployment very low, wages growth expected to pick up over this year, and international
migration increasing,” Moore said. 

“With that in mind, we’d expect to see activity pick up over the next few months as we head into the typically seasonally busy spring season.”

According to SQM Research, there are currently almost 6400 residential properties nationwide selling under distressed conditions. This was up from 6250 distressed listings recorded at the start of the month.

The rise in distressed selling activity was driven by Canberra, up 16.7 per cent, Tasmania 14.1 per cent and NSW 12.9 per cent.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher “expecting further rises in the coming months”. 

“There is now a clear trend across all cities of rising listings which is being driven by lower buyer interest and is ultimately symptomatic of the national housing downturn,” Christopher said.

Christopher said that the recent momentum upwards followed “an extraordinary low base” of distressed listings across the country. 

Distressed home sales have risen sharply as interest rates and inflation start to have an impact. ANZ is expecting rising interest rates and high inflation will push down demand for home building and borrowing in the coming months.


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