Canary in the coal mine – clearance rates propped up by lifestyle properties selling before auction

September 25th, 2017

Make no mistake, it’s a buyers’ market.

On their face, Domain’s stat’s for last Saturday are more of the same over many weeks.

The so called 70% unadjusted clearance rate from the remarkably consistent 32% non reporting rate only reflects sellers running from the auction fights they started but weren’t game to finish.

But when you drill down, most telling is not just the large number of sales prior to auction (SP) but those suburbs in which that was the ONLY sale method last Saturday: Avalon Beach 2/2; Balgowlah, Balgowlah Heights and North Balgowlah 4/4; Bondi 2/2; Coogee 4/4; Mona Vale 4/4; Narrabeen and North Narrabeen 5/6.

Historically in Sydney, corrections begin at the lifestyle/discretionary spend margins and move inwards. The same trend is evident in prestige car sales which, as the AFR and SMH both just reported and we have independently verified through our contacts in that trade, are crashing through the floor. It is also consistent with reports from Digital Finance Analytics which, for months now, has reported vulnerability amongst the more affluent and aspirational Sydney suburbs,

And that history was not written on the back of the hottest ever September day.

Even the promise of a Beaches Link to reduce congestion up from The Spit and along Military Road was not enough to stop the exodus of SP vendors on the Northern Beaches.

As it was in early 2008, so it feels in late 2017.

In relation to what the real clearance rate is likely to be once adjusted (even if you did get to see it), Cooley Auctions reported a miserable 64% and local inner west agents confirmed continuing vendor stress with a combined 53.8% for the entire week.