Sydney’s home auction market has got off to a slow start this year, with just 11 auctions scheduled for today and only a trickle scheduled for the coming weeks.
This comes as data published this week showed the majority of homes that went to auction over the three months to December failed to sell under the hammer.
The citywide auction clearance rate for the period was just 43.1 per cent, down from 57.7 per cent last year and nearly 80 per cent two years ago.
The spring selling season was also unusually quiet last year — about 2400 fewer homes went under the hammer than they did in the closing months of 2017.
Auctions had varying success across city regions, according to the CoreLogic research.
The strongest market was the eastern suburbs, where 53.3 per cent of auctions were a success, but regional clearance rates were closer to the 35 per cent mark in Parramatta and the Hills district.
The clearance rate in the Blue Mountains and Penrith area was 22.7 per cent across 101 auctions and in the Campbelltown and Camden area just 27.1 per cent of 77 auctions were successful.
Auctioneer and director of Auction Services Rocky Bartolotto said sellers would only return to the market in force by late February.
“Vendors have seen the market come back, so they have had to adjust their expectations,” he said. “There may be a bit of activity just before Australia Day but most (marketing) campaigns will only be kicking off now for auctions that will take place in a few weeks.”
Realestate.com.au economist Nerida Conisbee said many homeowners would adopt a wait-and-see approach due to uncertainty over how the Labor Party’s proposal to axe negative gearing might affect sales if they win the next federal election.
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“There will be a lot (of sellers) who want to wait until they know what direction the market will take,” she said.
Few homeowners traditionally take their properties to auction in January, but this weekend will be one of the few when the Harbour City will host less auctions than Adelaide, where auctioning remains rare.
Today’s volume of Sydney auctions is also smaller than in regional NSW, another market dominated by private treaty sales, not auctions.
HIGHEST CLEARANCE RATES (Oct-Dec)
Eastern suburbs 53.3%
North shore 47.6%
CBD and inner south 47.4%
Inner West 46.6%
Northern beaches 43.6
LOWEST CLEARANCE RATES
Outer west and Blue Mountains 22.7%
Outer southwest 27.1%
The Hills 31.9%
Greater Liverpool 35.5%