Tensions Rise As Sydney’s Auction Clearance Rate Drops Below 60%

Sydney’s property market saw tensions rise this weekend past with auction clearance rates dropping to 58.1 per cent as reported by Domain, as auctioneers who were confronted by a significant amount of “pass-in’s”, mediated standoffs between prospective buyers and vendors across the city.

The clearance rate for Saturday, one of the lowest of the year, was based on 378 reported auctions. However in addition to this, 76 properties were withdrawn, and a further 216 scheduled auction results were not reported by agents – a growing trend which was observed last week when the auction clearance rate was heavily revised for the same reason.

With the 216 outstanding results, the final clearance rate for the weekend could be downgraded to below 50%, making the performance rating from the same weekend last year (74.6%) a distant memory.

This coincides with CoreLogic’s newly-released combined index for eight capital cities, that annual property growth has dropped below zero for the first time since late 2012.

The three-month annualised rate is now at 2.4 per cent, suggesting an acceleration in the negative trend in 2018.  The turnaround has been sharp. Around this time last year, house price inflation across the eight cities was running at more than 11 per cent.

Sydney house prices are dragging the aggregate number lower, where property values are down 3.4 per cent over the past 12 months, the weakest result in 11 years. Melbourne is still recording annual house price growth of 3.7 per cent, although they fell in April, and Hobart is recording double-digit rates of growth.

The recent decline however needs to be put in to context as reported by the Australian Financial Review seeing that Sydney prices climbed about 75 per cent between early 2012 and mid-2018.

That being said, its still unsavoury news for the property market and adds to plenty of anecdotal chatter about shrinking crowds at inspections and stock struggling to sell. Auction clearance rates are circling 60 per cent, putting them around five-year lows, so it’s more important than ever for agents to proactively drive engagement in properties from the moment they’re listed through to auction day.