Regional push over? Home buyers return to capital cities

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on April 21, 2022 Fact Checked
Regional push over? Home buyers return to capital cities

The property market is still steaming ahead, with more than $150 billion in sales settling across the east coast alone from January to March 2022.

Auction numbers for the March quarter 2022 revealed it was the busiest first quarter on record, with 23,748 homes going under the hammer according to CoreLogic's latest auction figures.

In comparison, 19,004 capital city auctions took place in the March quarter 2021, and 18,902 auctions were held in the March quarter 2020. 

This comes off the back of the record-breaking December 2021 quarter, when 42,918 properties went to auction.

According to CoreLogic Research Director Tim Lawless, this momentum is carrying through to an earlier than usual pick up in auction volumes.

The first quarter of the year saw the trend in auction volumes and clearance rates heading in different directions,” Mr Lawless said.

“While the number of auctions held reached a March quarter high, the clearance rate gradually drifted lower through the quarter.”

The clearance rate for the March 2022 quarter was 69.9%, which is down from 71.3% in the December 2021 quarter.

This can be compared to the March 2021 quarter, when the clearance rate was 80%.

"As demand becomes more thinly stretched, lower clearance rates on higher volumes is a fairly normal trend," Mr Lawless said.

Buyers return to capital cities as metropolitan areas outperform regions

Property settlement numbers in the March quarter 2022 are comparable to the record-breaking numbers seen in the March quarter 2021 across both the east and west coast of Australia according to PEXA Insights. 

Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Western Australia all recorded at least 20% growth in aggregate values when compared to the same period in 2021, highlighting the growth in property prices over the past 12 months.

PEXA Insights' Head of Research Mike Gill said one of the more interesting trends that was seen in the latest quarter is a return to capital cities.

"Throughout the COVID pandemic, regional areas boomed, however with restrictions significantly relaxed, it appears Australian homebuyers have refocused on the metropolitan regions in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria," Mr Gill said.

PEXA's Chief Data and Analytics Officer Scott Butterworth believes the property market continues to demonstrate its resilience, but there are many variables yet to play out this year.

"A level of uncertainly remains across global markets with new variants of COVID emerging, the Russian invasion continuing, and rising interest rates," Mr Butterworth said.

"The PEXA Insights team will continue to closely monitor the impact of these issues on the Australian property, most notably the imminent rise in the Australian cash rate as speculated by many of the nation’s leading economists."


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Rachel is a Finance Journalist, and joined Savings in 2021. Coming from a background in the FinTech space, her interests include the innovation of lending technology, property, investing, and more. With a passion for educating and informing people about their finances, she hopes to increase the financial literacy of everyday Australians.

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