In what’s being explained as a weakening in vendor confidence driven by the softer housing market conditions and consistently lower clearance rates, the number of Australian homes taken to auction over the September 2018 quarter was lower than the corresponding quarter in 2017. 

20,653 homes went under the hammer across Australia’s combined capital cities in the 3 months to September 2018 - the lowest volume of auctions recorded in a quarter since the March 2017 quarter, when 19,241 homes went to auction. 

The September 2018 quarter was down from 25,824 homes auctioned over the previous June quarter, and much lower compared to the 27,953 homes that went to auction in 2017’s September Quarter (noting that the September 2017 quarter was made up of 14 weekends compared to 13 in 2018).  

The auction performance picture becomes even gloomier when auction clearance rates are analysed. The combined capital city clearance rate fell to 53.6 per cent over the quarter, down -4.2 per cent from the previous quarter; making it the lowest quarterly clearance result since December 2012 (50.9 per cent). 

Perth saw the largest increase in clearance rates over the quarter, up 5.7 per cent, followed by Adelaide with a modest 0.1 per cent improvement. All other capitals saw the clearance rate drop, with Tasmania recording the largest quarterly fall (down -7.1 per cent), although low volumes in Tasmania means the clearance rate can be volatile. Canberra fell -6.6 per cent, followed by Sydney (-5.1 per cent) and Melbourne (-4.6 per cent), while Brisbane showed little change over the quarter (-0.1 per cent).

The highest clearance rate was recorded over the week ending 22nd July (57.0 per cent across 1,257 auctions), while the lowest clearance rate was recorded over the week ending 30th September (45.8 per cent across 895 auctions). 

Auction market review highlights:

Capital city auction clearance rate & volumes

Sydney 50.9% (7,497 auctions)
Melbourne 56.6% (9,629 auctions)
Brisbane 42.7% (1,401 auctions)
Adelaide 60.7% (947 auctions)
Perth 36.9% (322 auctions)
Tasmania 50.0% (39 auctions)
Canberra 60.3% (818 auctions)
Combined capitals 53.6% (20,653 auctions)

Highest number of auctions for the quarter across capital city suburbs:

Based on total auctions held across the suburb over the reporting period

Melbourne Reservoir 175
Sydney Randwick 99
Brisbane Sunnybank Hills 46
Canberra Ngunnawal 30
Adelaide Prospect 18
Perth Fremantle 8

Highest clearance rate for the quarter by capital city suburbs:

Clearance rates are calculated when there has been at least 20 auction results reported over the period

Canberra Narrabundah 85.7% (captured results: 21, scheduled auctions: 26, number sold: 18)
Melbourne Wheelers Hill 81.4% (captured results: 43, scheduled auctions: 48, number sold: 35)
Sydney Bondi 80.6% (captured results: 31, scheduled auctions: 41, number sold: 25)
Brisbane Calamvale 47.8% (captured results: 23, scheduled auctions: 23, number sold: 11)

Across the non-capital city markets, auction volumes fell across all five regions over the September quarter when compared to both the previous quarter and the same time last year. 

Clearance rates have fallen over the quarter for the Sunshine Coast (-2.2 per cent) and Geelong (-1.6 per cent), while the Hunter, Wollongong and Gold Coast regions have all seen some improvement when compared to the previous quarter. 

Geelong was once again the top performer for clearance rates with a 68.6 per cent success rate across 402 auctions, while the Gold Coast hosted the most auctions over the 3 months to September 2018 (597).