CoreLogic is reporting the number of new properties listed in the four weeks to 13 August was 3.3% higher than the previous five year average.

Pre-Covid, selling activity tended to fall by an average of 5.2% from autumn to winter, before a 9.8% rise as things got warmer.

This year, new listings rose by 13.2% throughout winter, predominantly driven by the combined capital cities, where the number of new listings increased 17.9%.

Property prices have risen for the past five months, defying popular expectation that 2023 would see further sharp decline after rising interest rates drove them down in the back half of last year.

This is largely due to the lack of listings and increased competition for those fewer listings driving sales prices up. 

In May, CoreLogic's research director Tim Lawless pointed out inventory levels - the total number of properties for sale - were 24.4% lower than the previous five year average, suggesting homeowners were opting against selling while the market was down.

Now CoreLogic's Home Value Index (HVI) has recorded five successive months of growth, and the flurry of new listings could be an indicator sellers are encouraged, and the market could be set to pick up.

Mr Lawless however pointed out this growth is coming from a very low base, and the total number of listings on the market remains low.

"[Total listings] refers to the count of all advertised homes for sale in the reference period, not just those that were newly added to the market over time," Mr Lawless said.

"Since the beginning of winter, total advertised supply has reduced by 3.5% despite a 13.2% rise in the flow of new listings."

Hobart (up 22.1%) and Canberra (up 1.2%) were the only capital cities where there are more properties for sale than this time last year, although Sydney and Melbourne saw more new listings than August '22 (up 10.9% and 9.7% respectively).

PropTrack, which also published a spring selling preview this week, senior economist Angus Moore said Sydney and Melbourne were showing signs of regaining momentum.

"Australia’s two largest property markets both saw more new listings than has been typical on average for mid-winter over the past decade," Mr Moore said.

"Activity is likely to continue increasing over the next few months as we head into the spring selling season, with activity likely to peak over October and November."

Mortgage stress to force more sellers to the table?

Another reason selling activity could be about to pick up is more Australians struggling with mortgage repayments forced into selling their property.

While it seems for the time being the RBA is done with interest rate rises, a 4.10% cash rate is still the highest in a decade, and plenty of households across Australia are feeling squeezed.

Last week, CoreLogic reported we are around the peak of the 'fixed rate cliff', a three month period where hundreds of thousands of Aussies who had taken on fixed rate mortgages when interest rates were at record lows would see these terms expire, and see their repayments revert to a far higher variable rate.

RBA figures show there are 880,000 mortgage holders who have already been in or will be in this position in 2023.

However, CoreLogic is also reporting low levels of mortgage holders in arrears, and mortgage broking firm Two Red Shoes also say fear about a rise in default rates is unwarranted.

Two Red Shoes point to a recent senate enquiry, which found households are doing a good job cutting costs elsewhere in order to maintain the family home, as well as anecdotal data from banks that confirms the number of people behind on their home loans is extremely low.


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