The nationwide clearance rate is lagging below 50 per cent as the housing market heads into its traditional auction season, with Melbourne recording its lowest rate since July 2012.
CoreLogic data released on Monday showed Australian capital city clearance rate edged higher to 49.8 per cent last week, but that was still below 50 per cent for a fourth straight week and well short of the 64.7 per cent at the same time last year.
Similarly, the number of homes taken to auction increased to 2,119 from 1,851 the previous week, but that was compared to 2,519 12 months ago.
Corelogic said it would monitor the impact the housing market downturn would have on the traditionally heightened auction activity season.
‘Traditionally, auction activity ramps up around late October through to December each year – and it is not uncommon to have weeks where volumes are in excess of 3,000 during that time – so it will be interesting to see what volumes are like this year given the softening market,’ Corelogic said in a statement.
Sydney featured 659 auctions at a slightly higher rate of 52.2 per cent, though a downward revision is expected as more results come through.
One year ago, there were 823 auctions with a clearance rate of 61.3 per cent.
The 60 Eastern suburbs homes up for sale cleared 64 per cent, while only 41.7 per cent of Sutherland auctions cleared.
Melbourne, meanwhile, hosted 1,088 auctions this week with a preliminary clearance rate of just 47.5 per cent – the lowest since July 2012.
Suburbs in the inner east, outer east, and south east all had clearance rates of below 40 per cent for the week.
Both auction volumes and clearances rose in Brisbane and Perth for the week, while Canberra and Adelaide featured more auctions but a lower percentage of homes sold.
In regional results, only 18 per cent of auctions cleared on the Gold Coast, while 38.5 per cent cleared in Wollongong, 46 per cent in the NSW Hunter region, 47.1 per cent on the Sunshine Coast, and 48.2 per cent in Geelong.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Bank Business Sales Indicator rose by just 0.2 per cent in trend terms in September – the weakest growth since May 2017 – indicating that falling house prices are affecting consumer spending elsewhere in the economy.