National listings numbers down

By Brendan Wong

The number of residential property listings advertised for sale has continued to fall across the country, according to RP Data.

The leading service provider’s new figures revealed that nationally, total listing numbers were down 8.5 per cent to 247,734 unique advertisements.

Advertised stock levels were almost 15 per cent lower than a year ago across the capital cities, with a total of 108,420 unique dwellings.

Nationally, there were 2.1 per cent fewer new listings, with a total of 37,488 listings

According to senior research analyst Cameron Kusher, the drop in listings was seasonal - though much lower than the previous year.

“I think a number of factors are probably at work here: an increase in sales activity is obviously contributing, so too is the fact that it appears as if vendors in the current market are setting more realistic price expectations, resulting in a more rapid pace of sale,” he said.

“We have also probably seen some of those vendors that have had their stock on the market either remove it from the market, finally, or adjust their price to the necessary level to attract some purchaser interest.”

Mr Kusher said the falling stock levels were an indication of ongoing improvements in housing market conditions, highlighted by increasing sales activity, improving demand for housing finance and fairly strong auction clearance rates.

“Although demand has picked up, as yet it has not been driving home values significantly higher, which of course may reflect the fact that sales are being achieved by meeting the market rather than demand driving home values noticeably higher,” Mr Kusher said.

Senior economist for Australian Property Monitors Dr Andrew Wilson told Smart Property Investment's sister title, Real Estate Business, that auction statistics were showing that listing numbers were beginning to rise this year compared to last year.

“We’re certainly seeing properties sell now where before we didn’t,” he said. “We are certainly getting more sales activity, as we’re seeing from higher auction clearance rates this year."

Dr Wilson said there were signs of excess stock being cleared, but on the other end, there were some selling difficulties in some markets due to a lack of confidence from sellers.

“Markets such as Brisbane still remain subdued, so there’s certainly a disincentive for property owners in that market particularly. Also, what we still see is some of the prestige market - in Sydney particularly - with quiet activity levels."

However, he said the number of people putting properties on the market was growing in Sydney and Melbourne.

“It’s only really been over the last month where we’re seeing listings numbers rise in Sydney. There was a sense that although buyers were becoming more active, sellers were not as confident in the marketplace, but we’re starting to see that change now," he said.

“Melbourne has been very strong with its auction listings numbers since Easter, and they’re tracking around 20 to 30 per cent higher on a year-on-year comparison average of auction listing numbers.”

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