Spring selling season off to a slow start as house listings slide

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SYDNEY’S usually active spring home selling season has started with a fizzle this year and property experts are warning a listing slump will make it tough for families to upsize from units to houses.

Only 386 properties will go to auction today, well below opening spring weekends in previous years, and total listing numbers remain 15 per cent lower than they were at this time last year, according to CoreLogic data.

Freestanding houses within a 20km radius were in particularly short supply relative to demand, with newly built apartments comprising the bulk of listings in areas such as the CBD, Parramatta, Ryde and Homebush.

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Across Sydney, two-bedroom units were the most common properties listed for sale, accounting for more than a quarter of all listings.

Three-bedroom houses comprised 14 per cent of stock, while listings for studios and one-bedroom units accounted for 11 per cent, outnumbering sales for houses with five bedrooms or more, along with townhouses.

Buyer’s agent Rich Harvey.

Four-bedroom houses – the bulk of which were either priced at over $1.5 million or located in an outer region of Sydney – made up 24 per cent of available housing.

Buyer’s advocate and Property Buyer director Rich Harvey said lower spring listing numbers were occurring amid a recent spike in people wanting to upsize.

Many of these buyers wanted the same properties — detached houses priced under about $1.5 million — and competition for these properties was driving up prices, he said.

“Families are struggling because there just isn’t enough out there for them,” Mr Harvey said, adding that many owners of detached houses were holding off listing to see if prices would improve further.

Auctioneer Andrew Cooley at a competitive auction for a Panania property. Sales for houses have been hotly contested. Picture: Chris Pavlich

“Last year people were trying to sell before prices dropped further because the market was weaker so there were more listings,” Mr Harvey said.

“Now there’s a feeling prices may increase so many sellers are waiting to see if they can get more for their homes.”

BIS Oxford Economics analyst Angie Zigomanis said recent interest rate cuts were exacerbating the mismatch in unit and house demand.

The cuts meant more owner occupier buyers were streaming into the market to snatch up houses at a time when investors, who usually bought units, were struggling to get financing from banks, he said.

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