Auction rates bubble on despite price cool


Everything points to a cooling Australian property market, say the experts. Especially in Sydney and Melbourne.

Rising interest rates, dismal affordability and echoing concerns about the cost of living amid killer petrol prices: put them all together and it’s little wonder why.

That said, though, houses are still being bought and sold. Plenty of them.

There are 4086 capital city homes set to go under the hammer across the country this week, according to CoreLogic.

If all eventuate, it will mark the busiest auction week of the year so far and the fifth busiest since the property information outfit began putting records together 14 years ago.

The number is up more than 27 per cent on last week and almost 86 per cent compared to the volume of auctions in the same week last year, although they were somewhat low in coming off the Easter break.

With the exception of Brisbane and Perth, all Australian capitals are expected to have their strongest week since 2021.

Melbourne is scheduled to host 1768 auctions, up 17.8 per cent on the 1501 last week and Sydney 1554 or an increase of 36.8 per cent.

But the question, as always, is why.

Prices still rose 4.7 per cent during the December quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics but are now slowing.

Data for March issued by real estate advertiser REA Group shows values increased just 0.34 per cent.

Some are of the view that buyers still able to afford getting a foot in the door are rushing to do so before the cash rate moves.

Of the 34 experts consulted by online comparison site Finder in its RBA poll this month, 30 backed the prospect of at least one interest rise this year.

With that in mind, it’s also no wonder home owners are still keen to go to market before they miss the boat and prices start falling.

A big factor in the urgency on both sides is the desire to avoid uncertainty.

With two long weekends in April and a federal election to follow, a perfect storm has come together, says Upside Realty director James Kirkland whose sales team operates across four states.

“I think it’s enough to make people think, ‘if I am going to pull the trigger in the first half of the year, I’m better off going this side of Easter’,” he said.

“A lot of agents, including ourselves, would have been advising anyone considering selling they would have been best to have done that and have this weekend as the auction day.”

Mr Kirkland also said unprecedented buyer demand pent up since the start of 2022 was certainly still “enough to draw a lot of people to market that are considering things”.