Eager buyers sweep aside housing market gloom


This weekend was shaping up as a major test of Australia’s housing market.

Auction clearance rates ended 2023 in the gutter, leading house price growth lower:

Auction clearances national

Moreover, 1,706 homes were scheduled for auction across the combined capitals over the weekend, the second busiest start to February since CoreLogic auction records commenced in 2008.


Yet, the preliminary auction results “set a cracking pace, with a surge in both the volume of auctions and clearance rates”, according to CoreLogic.

“With 1,268 results collected so far, last week’s preliminary clearance rate came in at 73.9%, the highest since the week ending August 20th 2023 (74.0%)”, reports CoreLogic:

Capital city auction clearance rates

“Melbourne recorded its highest preliminary clearance rate since early October last year, with 71.9% of the 488 results collected so far returning a successful result”.

“Sydney’s early clearance rate came in at 76.3% with 434 results collected – the city’s highest preliminary result since the week ending July 20th 2023 (77.5%)”.

“The first major week of auctions this year has been an absolute cracker”, CoreLogic Research Director, Tim Lawless said.

“Potentially, the news of low inflation and the possibility of early rate cuts is already boosting sentiment”, the firm said.

McGrath’s national manager of sales, Troy Malcolm, likewise told The AFR that bidders had come in hot, averaging four per auction.


But SQM research managing director, Louis Christopher, cautioned that seasonality was contributing to the stronger-than-expected results.

“It’s fairly common for the market to open stronger than it finished where we finished off in December”, he said.

“The season is still opening up, and volumes are stronger again next weekend and will keep getting stronger through to the end of February”.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.