By Mina Martin
The Australian property market traditionally experiences a surge in listing activity in the first half of March – but not in 2023, according to a new CoreLogic report.
“Listings provide a useful real-time indicator of seller sentiment and general market confidence,” said Tim Lawless (pictured above), research director at CoreLogic Asia Pacific. “However, this year sellers have erred on the side of caution before listing and the trend is moving lower again with the flow of new listings consistently below average since spring last year.”
From March 11 to 19, the market saw an additional 8,721 new listings – that’s down 27.3% compared to the same time last year, and 21.3% below the previous five-year average. To date in 2023, new listings nationally have been tracking 18% below 2022 levels.
The lower-than-average flow of fresh stock added to the market will likely become a key factor supporting housing values, Lawless said.
For the past month, a lack of new stock in some cities has stemmed the decline in values, CoreLogic’s Daily Home Value Index (HVI) showed. Sydney housing values, in particular, increased 0.9% over the past 28 days just as the volume of new listings declined nearly 40% year-on-year. The case was similar for Melbourne, Perth, and Brisbane, where housing values were edging slightly higher or have steadied.
Lawless said that there’s a good chance the flow of new listings has moved through a seasonal peak.
“Historically, weeks nine to 11 mark the seasonal high point in the flow of new listings before the trend eases towards Easter and the cooler months,” he said. “Activity across CoreLogic’s RP Data platform, where real estate agents generate reports to prepare properties for sale, has consistently tracked below levels of the past two years and is once again trending down, indicating fewer properties are being prepared for sale. The year-to-date has seen 14.9% fewer real estate agent reports generated relative to the same time last year.”
Most parts of Australia are recording a lower-than-normal number of new listings, with the largest capitals posting the largest declines.
Over the year to date, Brisbane has seen the lowest amount of new stock relative to the previous five-year average, with new listings down 17.8% than the previous five-year average and nearly 20% lower than a year ago. This was followed by Sydney, where new listings were 13.2% below the previous five-year average and almost 23% lower than a year ago, and Melbourne, where new listings were 12.3% below the previous five-year average and 23.4% lower than last year.
“It seems prospective vendors in these cities are doing their best to wait out the downturn, preferring to hold off on their selling decisions until conditions improve and some certainty returns to their decision-making,” Lawless said.
Hobart, Darwin, and the ACT bucked the trend of lower listings through the first 11 weeks of the year.
In Hobart, where advertised stock levels are rising from a low benchmark, new listings were up 6.2% on the previous five-year average and were 8.9% higher than the same period a year ago. In Darwin, new listings were 7.5% higher than average but nearly 20% lower than a year ago and well below the highs recorded in 2014 and 2015. New listings across the ACT, meanwhile, were 25% higher than average but nearly 11% lower than a year ago.
Lawless expects that watching the ebb and flow of new listings to be a key factor in the performance of this year’s housing market.
“Arguably there has been an accrual of pent-up supply since September 2022 as prospective vendors delay their selling decisions, possibly frustrating buyers with a shortage of options,” he said. “However, any sign of a rebound in new stock on the market could trigger renewed downwards pressure on housing values, unless the increase was absorbed by a commensurate uplift in buying activity.”
Use the comment section below to tell us how you felt about this story.