The week that was in property

Late last week the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released overseas arrivals and departures data for March 2016.

Over the 12 months to March 2016, there have been 7,609,200 short-term and 17,873,900 total arrivals to Australia, both of which are record highs.

Short–term arrivals have increased by 8.1% over the year while total arrivals are 5.6% higher.  25944084_l

While short-term and total arrivals are rising, so too are short-term and total departures however, they are increasing at a slower pace.

Over the past year there were 9,561,700 short-term departures and 958,620 total resident departures, representing annual increases of 3.4% and 4.3% respectively.

Housing finance data for March 2016 was released earlier this week by the ABS.

The data showed that over the month there were $32.7 billion worth of housing finance commitments which was -0.2% lower over the month and 1.2% higher year-on-year.

Looking at the components, there was $13.8 billion worth of owner occupier commitments for new mortgages, $7.0 billion in refinances to owner occupiers and $12.0 billion in commitments to investors.

Over the month, owner occupier new loan commitments were -1.0% lower, owner occupier refinance commitments were down -1.7%, while investor finance commitments rose 1.5%.

Year-on year the trend is somewhat different with owner occupier new loan commitments 10.4% higher, owner occupier refinances up 14.7% but investment commitments -13.0% lower.

The total value of housing finance commitments is now -3.1% lower than its peak.

Westpac and the Melbourne Institute released the May 2016 Consumer Sentiment Index earlier this week.

The Index was recorded at 103.2 points over the month, its highest reading since January 2014.

The survey period included the interest rate cut and the Federal Budget, while the result may indicate a bounce due to the Budget, it is much more likely to have occurred due to the interest rate cuts.

Each of the past four instances of a cut to interest rates the reading has increased compared to the previous month and it has been above 100 points indicating greater levels of consumer optimism than pessimism.


Over the week ending May 8 there were 2,230 capital city auctions with CoreLogic collecting results for 1,956 auctions, accounting for almost 88% of all auctions held.

The final clearance rate was recorded at 67.7% which was down from 69.4% over the previous week. 

The number of auctions decreased from 2,675 over the previous week.

Last week, across Melbourne, typically the largest capital city auction market, 1,150 auctions were held with a clearance rate of 73.2%.

Melbourne’s clearance rate fell slightly from 73.5% over the previous week.

Sydney’s auction clearance rate was recorded at 71.8% across 676 auctions compared to a clearance rate of 71.7% across 818 auctions the previous week.

Across all other regions except for Tasmania, auction clearance rates were lower over the past week.

Sydney and Melbourne and auction clearance rates remain at healthy levels above 70% indicating further growth in home values.


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 0.5% higher on a national basis and the total volume of stock on the market is -2.7% lower.

Across the combined capital cities, new listings are -1.1% lower relative to last year, while total listings are 3.6% higher.

On a city by city basis, Sydney (-6.7%), Melbourne (-0.1%), Perth (-8.0%) and Darwin (-14.2%) are seeing a lower number of new listings than a year ago.

In terms of the total stock available for sale, Melbourne (-1.4%), Hobart (-27.6%) and Canberra (-18.4%) are the only capital cities to have fewer total properties for sale than a year ago.

Nationally and across the combined capital cities, new and total listings were lower over the past week.

Want more of this type of information?

Tim Lawless


Tim heads up the Core Logic RP Data research and analytics team, analysing real estate markets, demographics and economic trends across Australia. Visit

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