More pain to come for property sellers

  • By Zilla Efrat

The rate of profit-making sales across the Australian property market fell for the first time in the March quarter and further falls are expected.

CoreLogic’s latest Pain & Gain report, which analysed around 106,000 property resales that occurred during the quarter, registered a modest 30 basis point decline in the rate of profit-making sales, the first since the three months to August 2020.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen says while it was only a slight decline and the incidence of profit-making sales fell to 93.7 per cent, there were several factors pointing to further falls in the coming months.

“Our quarterly Pain & Gain report is another sign of a changing market for sellers,” she says.

“The figures align with other key indicators such as the slowing growth rate of values, the increasing time it takes to sell a property and a fall in sales volumes at a time when access to credit has become harder and interest rates are on the rise.

“In May, Australian dwelling values posted the first monthly decline in value since September 2020. Against a backdrop of rising interest rates, tighter credit conditions and affordability pressures we are likely to see the instance of nominal gains from dwelling resales erode throughout 2022, which will have an even greater impact on buyers who have entered the market more recently.”

In dollar terms, the median gains from resales nationally were $290,000. They were highest for Sydney dwellings ($415,000) and lowest across Perth ($119,000). Nationally, median losses on resales through the quarter stood at -$33,000.

Higher hold periods have typically resulted in higher nominal capital gains with properties held for a period of 30 years or more achieving median gains of $781,750.

Owen says outside of this, properties held between 24 and 26 years or purchased between 1996 and 1998 also achieved extremely high gains.

“Properties were acquired relatively cheaply at this time because of a significant housing market downswing through the mid-90s,” she says.

“Our analysis shows the median hold period nationally is 9 years, when properties were purchased during the March quarter of 2013. Since then, Australian dwelling values have increased 70.3 per cent or the equivalent of around $309,000 in the median dwelling value across Australia.”

Australia’s capital cities are driving the deterioration in profit-making resales, falling 60 basis points to 93.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2022. Leading the way was Melbourne, where the rate of profit-making resales fell a full percentage point followed by Sydney’s fall of 60 basis points.

Regional areas remained strong, with the rate of profit-making sales lifting 10 basis points higher in the quarter, to 94.2 per cent.