Late last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released demographic statistics for the September 2015 quarter.
Over the quarter, the national population increased by 82,356 persons to be 313,237 persons higher over the year.
Although the total increase in population over the past year is well above the long-term average increase, it was the lowest annual increase in population since June 2011.
The rate of population growth was recorded at 1.3% over the year which was the slowest annual rate of population growth since December 2005.
A big driver of the slowdown in population growth has been the falling rate of net overseas migration.
Over the 12 months to September 2015 there were 167,652 net overseas migrants to Australia.
Net overseas migration was -7.0% lower over the past year and is now at its lowest level since September 2006.
Net overseas migration peaked at 315,687 persons over the 12 months to December 2008 and is now -46.9% lower than this peak.
The ABS also released its annual data on regional population growth earlier this week.
The data for the 2014-15 financial year shows that in June 2015 it is estimated that there were 23,777,777 persons living in Australia with two out of every three people (66.7%) living in a capital city.
Sydney remains the most populous capital city with 4,920,970 residents, closely followed by Melbourne with 4,529,946 residents.
Between them, Sydney and Melbourne account for a record high 59.6% of all capital city residents and almost two out of every five (39.7%) residents of the country.
The combined capital cities have recorded a population growth rate of 1.7% over the year compared to 0.7% annual growth in the combined rest of state areas.
Across the individual capital cities, Melbourne has recorded the fastest rate of population growth over the year (2.1%) followed by: Darwin (1.9%), Sydney (1.7%), Brisbane and Perth (both 1.6%),
Canberra (1.4%), Adelaide (0.9%) and Hobart (0.8%).
The recent slowdown in capital population growth is extremely noticeable across the resource states.
In Brisbane, annual population growth peaked at 2.8% in 2009, in Perth population growth peaked at 3.9% in 2012 and in Darwin it peaked at 3.7% in 2008.
Auction volumes were low last week due to the Easter long weekend.
Over the week ending March 27, 2016 there were 554 auctions held across the capital cities with CoreLogic collecting 472 results, accounting for more than 85% of all auctions held.
The final auction clearance rate for the week increased from 68.8% the previous week to 70.9% with the number of auctions falling from 3,540 the previous week to 554 last week.
Last week, across Melbourne, typically the largest capital city auction market, just 78 auctions were held with a clearance rate of 71.4% which was a softer clearance rate than the 72.1% across
1,788 auctions the previous week.
Sydney’s clearance rate increased over the week to 77.9% from 71.8% over the previous week with auction volumes falling to 349 from 1,114.
This week will be a much better guide as to the auction market’s position with a higher number of properties on-the-market.
Note that sales listings are based on a rolling 28 day count of unique properties that have been advertised for sale.
Relative to the same period last year, the number of new listings over the past twenty eight days is 1.3% higher on a national basis and the total volume of stock on the market is 1.1% higher than a year ago. Across the combined capital cities, new listings are -0.9% lower relative to last year, while total listings are 8.4% higher.
On a city by city basis, only Melbourne (+1.1%), Brisbane (+15.0%) and Adelaide (+3.6%) are seeing a higher number of new listings than a year ago.
In terms of the total stock available for sale, only Hobart (-25.6%) and Canberra (-0.6%) have fewer total properties for sale than a year ago.
It is going to be interesting to track over the coming weeks just how well the relatively high volume of properties available for sale is going to be consumed by the market.