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Australia’s auction market has busiest start to the year on record

  • Written by Corelogic

The momentum from last year’s record high auction volumes has continued into 2022 with the Australian residential auction market achieving its busiest first quarter on record.

CoreLogic’s Quarterly Auction Market Review shows 23,748 homes went under the hammer in the first three months of 2022, making it the busiest March quarter since records began in 2008. For comparison, there were 19,004 capital city homes taken to auction in the first quarter of 2021 and 18,902 over the March 2020 quarter.

During the three months to December 2021, 42,918 homes went to auction, setting a new benchmark and carrying through to an earlier than usual pick up in this year’s auction volumes CoreLogic Research Director Tim Lawless says.

However, the combined capital city clearance rate of 69.9% for the March 2022 quarter was down from the December result of 71.3% and weaker again when compared to the corresponding quarter in 2021 when the clearance rate was 80.0%.

“The first quarter of the year saw the trend in auction volumes and clearance rates heading in different directions,” Mr Lawless said.

“While the number of auctions held reached a March quarter high, the clearance rate gradually drifted lower through the quarter.”

As demand becomes more thinly stretched, lower clearance rates on higher volumes is a fairly normal trend, Mr Lawless said.

However, higher overall listing numbers and a slowing rate of sale in Sydney and Melbourne was also impacting market conditions. Sydney’s auction clearance rate over the March quarter was 69.1%, compared to 69.9% over the previous quarter, and 84.5% over the March quarter 2021.

There were 8,283 auctions held in Sydney in the first three months of 2022.

Overall, Melbourne’s clearance rate was recorded at 68.5% over the March quarter, down from 69.7% over the previous quarter and 77.5% over the March 2021 quarter. In terms of auction volume, there were 10,315 homes taken to auction across the city over the March quarter.

Of the smaller capital city markets Adelaide was the top performer with a clearance rate of 80.6% for the March quarter from 1,797 auctions. Canberra recorded a clearance rate of 77.9% from 1,227 auctions and in Brisbane 1,916 homes went under the hammer resulting in a clearance rate of 67.9%.

“The smaller auction markets were generally stronger through the quarter, especially Adelaide where clearance rates held above the 80% mark,” Mr Lawless said.

“With such strong selling conditions, we’ve seen a progressively larger portion of homes being taken to auction in Adelaide; a city that has historically favoured sales campaigns by private treaty rather than auctions.”

Easter is traditionally one of the quietest auction periods of the year and generally marks the start of the winter selling season.

Although this year’s Easter week was the busiest on record with 937 homes taken to auction across the combined capital cities, Mr Lawless predicts the trend will be for fewer auctions in the coming months.

“This is a seasonal trend we see through the winter months, but as selling conditions gradually swing towards a buyer’s market, we could also see clearance rates trending lower,” he said.

Sydney sub-region summary

Sydney saw the volume of auctions increase across all but one of the 15 sub-regions over the March 2022 quarter, compared to the March 2021 quarter. However, the higher volume resulted in lower clearance rates.

North Sydney and Hornsby recorded the highest clearance rates this quarter (73.4%), followed by Baulkham Hills and Hawkesbury (72.7%) and Sutherland (72.5%). North Sydney and Hornsby was the busiest sub-region this quarter, with 1,205 homes taken to auction, followed by City and Inner South (913) and Inner South West (894).

Melbourne sub-region summary

In Melbourne, the Inner region was the busiest spot for auctions with 2,049 auctions held over the quarter, up from 1,987 over the March 2021 quarter. All nine of Melbourne’s sub-regions recorded a fall in clearance rates over the quarter compared to the same quarter last year. The Mornington Peninsula was the best performing sub-region over the March quarter (76.5%), followed by the Outer East (74.0%) and Inner South (72.0%).

Highest volume and clearance rates

Based on the total auctions held across suburbs during the March quarter, Reservoir in Melbourne was the country’s busiest with 168 auctions followed by Randwick in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs with 123.

West End in Brisbane (40), Ngunnawal in Canberra (35), Magill in Adelaide (30) and Dianella in Perth (8) had the highest volume of auctions in their respective capital cities.

All 21 homes auctioned in Carlton in Melbourne’s inner north sold under the hammer in the March quarter for a 100% clearance rate, the best performer in the country. Cammeray in Sydney recorded a 90.9% clearance rate from 22 auctions, slightly higher than Casey in Canberra where 29 of the 32 auctions (90.6%) sold under the hammer in the first quarter.

A full city-by-city suburb analysis, where at least 20 auction results were reported over the March quarter, can be found in the report.

For more information or to download a copy of the report, visit www.corelogic.com.au/reports/quarterly-auction-review.