The housing market recorded a drop in property listings during the Christmas season – a trend that was seen across all capital cities, the latest report from SQM Research has shown.
The number of properties for sale registered a 7.9% decline on monthly basis in December and a 5.8% slide from the same period last year.
The drop was particularly evident in Sydney, where property listings fell 18.3%. Canberra and Melbourne also posted noticeable declines of 17% and 11.5%, respectively.
Louis Christopher, managing director at SQM Research, said that although the number of listings generally decreases towards the end of the year, he had seen an unusually busy housing market with demand picking up after lockdowns were lifted.
“The month of December traditionally records falls in properties listed for sale as it is the start of the festive and summer holiday period,” he said. “However, activity was strong all the way through to the last weekend before Christmas, which was unusual and likely reflected a degree of catch up from the property inspection restrictions earlier in the year.”
Source: SQM Research
In terms of the latest asking prices, SQM’s data showed a 1.3% increase for houses but a 0.2% decline for units across capital cities, representing a 2.4% ascent and 2.2% drop year-on-year, respectively.
2020 ended with the median asking prices for units pegged at $564,800 while those for houses reached $1,001,500 – the first time that the value has breached the $1m mark since the investment research firm began recording the data in 2009.
Canberra was the only capital city to post increases in both house and unit prices in December, registering a 0.8% and 0.4% uptick, respectively. Sydney, Melbourne, and Hobart recorded a rise in house prices but declines in unit prices. Adelaide posted marginal decreases in both house and unit prices.
Source: SQM Research
Christopher predicted a promising next couple of months for the housing market but expressed concern about the impact of the looming end of the JobKeeper program.
“Going forward, I believe listings activity is going to remain strong in early 2021 but could weaken on the wind up of JobKeeper in March 2021,” he said. “We believe JobKeeper has provided support to the market over 2020.”