Real estate listings improve despite lockdowns

  • By Zilla Efrat

Every Australian capital city has enjoyed a rise in new real estate listings over recent weeks, despite some being in lockdown, according to CoreLogic.

That said, Tim Lawless, research director at CoreLogic, says the new listings trends remain below the five-year average in every capital apart from Adelaide, Perth and Darwin – the cities that have mostly avoided lockdowns.

Nationally, he says new listings bottomed out over the four weeks ending September 5 with just 31,731 new listings added to the market, the lowest volume since the seasonal low in January this year.

New listings have since picked up with Melbourne enjoying the biggest gains – a jump of 48.5 per cent since their recent low in the first week of September.

Lawless says Melbourne’s new listings trends have been extremely volatile, falling sharply through each of the five lockdowns to date, before rebounding quickly once restrictions were lifted.

He says Sydney hasn’t shown the same volatility as Melbourne – partly due to fewer lockdowns, but also because restrictions did not prohibit private one-on-one inspections.

“As a result, the rolling four-week count of new listings has steadily risen since mid-August,” says Lawless. “Based on the count of new listings as at September 19, freshly advertised listings are up 31 per cent, but remain -3.9 per cent below the five-year average for this time of the year.”

In Canberra, where residents are also navigating an extended period of lockdown, new listings have increased by 28 per cent since finding a low last week.

Up until midnight on Friday September 17 physical property inspections were prohibited in Canberra. “With these rules now eased, it’s likely the new listings trend will ramp up more substantially, says Lawless.

Meanwhile, it’s a different story for cities that have mostly avoided lockdowns. In Perth, the new listings trend is tracking 7.9 per cent above the five-year average and is up 18.3 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Darwin listings are rapidly trending higher, 45.9 per cent above the five-year average, while Adelaide’s new listings trend is 1 per cent above average.

Brisbane’s new listings trend was suffering from a lockdown hangover, which had dragged the rolling four-week count of listings lower. While the hangover appears to be lifting, the upwards shift is mild and the count of new listings remains -3.8 per cent below the five-year average.

The new listings trend in Hobart has held consistently below-average levels throughout 2021, which is likely a key contributing factor to the rapid rate of appreciation in housing values - up 24.5 per cent over the past 12 months and the highest annual growth rate of any capital city.

“With lockdown restrictions planned to ease further as vaccination targets are met, we should see an increase in confidence from vendors thinking of selling their property,” says Lawless.

“At the moment, selling conditions remain skewed towards vendors rather than buyers, but a lift in listings through spring and summer should help to rebalance buyers and sellers’ places at the negotiating table.”