If you’re on the verge of buying your first home but have been waiting for property prices to stabilise or even fall, it looks like you’ll have to hold out for a while longer.
After this morning’s RBA decision to leave the rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent, it was noted that housing market conditions had eased in the past year but there were “some signs that conditions had strengthened a little more recently
Auction clearance rates are almost certainly one of the ‘signs’ they’re referring to. Initial data from CoreLogic shows that last week (to Sunday 30th October) 77.6% of auctions ended with a sale – that’s an average for the state and territory capitals.
That’s a teeny bit lower than last week’s clearance rate of 78.1%, but it still marks the 14th week in a row that the rate has exceeded 70%.
It’s no surprise to see that the cities topping the charts are Sydney and Melbourne with clearance rates of 84.4% and 78.6% respectively – both amazingly high.
There’s another trend the experts will be keeping a close eye on as a sign of market strength. Around this time of year, usually more homes start to come onto the market and this surge in supply keeps prices in check. But there is no sign of this happening so far this year.
In fact, all five mainland state capitals experienced price rises last week, according to CoreLogic’s data. There were gains of 0.1% in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, 0.5% in Brisbane and 1.5% in Melbourne.
To add to this, all five cities had an average price gain over the last two weeks in October that was larger than the same period in any of the three previous years.
But it’s not all good news (or bad news, depending on which side of the home ownership scale you currently occupy).
Both of the above indicators – high clearance rates and continued price increases – are due in part to reduced supply. Since late 2005, in fact, the number of new homes appearing on the market has reduced each year.
At the moment, new listings are 4% lower than this time last year.
It’s possible that sellers are holding out for even higher prices, and this reduction in supply is letting prices (and clearance rates) remain high and even creep higher, despite the fact that underlying demand is weakening. Property owners, seeing that their plan is working and prices are still on the rise, keep their homes off the market for even longer.
We may be stuck in this vicious cycle for now, but eventually something’s got to give and when it does, people will be rushing to sell up before prices spiral too far down.
Any hopeful buyers who have been patiently biding their time will surely be rewarded… eventually.