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How many houses are for sale? Too many or too few and where are they?

Forget about apartments for a minute, we’ll get to them next week. Let’s take a look, for now, at what’s going on with detached housing stock levels across the country.

There are 22 million people and 5.82 million detached houses in Australia.  Three out of five, or 60%, are located in a capital city – although only 40% of houses for sale are in the capitals.

About 5% or 300,000 of Australia’s houses were for sale in August, which is about 10,000 more houses than for the same time last year – an increase of about 3%. This means there are 4,000 more houses for sale in the capitals than a year ago, and about 5,500 more on offer in the regions.

Yes, stock levels are rising – but where?

All up, there are about 120,000 houses for sale across all the capitals, and 175,000 for sale in the regions. Houses make up 75% of all dwellings for sale across the eight capitals, and hold 85% of market share in the regions.

There are fewer ‘for sale’ signs of late in Perth(down 1,700),Brisbane(down 1,400) and Darwin(down 275 or a whopping 25%). In contrast, the remaining five capitals all saw an increase in detached housing stock for sale, especially Melbourne– where there are 5,500 more houses on offer than this time last year.

In the regions, houses for sale dropped in SA and Qld, remained steady in the NT and Tassie but increased in Victoria (up 3,800), NSW (up 1,750) and WA (up 1,450).

Does this mean things are pretty crappy for detached housing in Melbourne and Victoria? And things are looking up for Qld, SA and Perth?

Not necessarily.

When you cross-reference the ‘for sale’ detached house figures with the numbers of detached houses in each capital and regional market, the results tell quite a different story.

Despite the lift of 4,000 extra houses for sale this year, the total of 120,000 houses for sale in all capitals actually represents just 3% of stock.

I reckon a turnover of between 4% and 6% for detached houses is normal; anything less than 4% is a bit tight or undersupplied. Anything over 6% is obviously a bit loose or oversupplied.

So, that means the undersupplied detached housing markets are:  Sydney(2%), regional NT (2%),Darwin(3%) and Perth(3%).  (The percentage refers to the number of detached houses listed for sale against the total number of detached houses).

Detached housing markets at equilibrium are:Adelaide(4%),Brisbane(4%),Melbourne(4%),Hobart(5%) and regional NSW (6%).

The oversupplied detached housing markets are: regional WA (especially the Margaret River area) (14%), regional Victoria (9%), regional Qld (including the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and Cairns) (8%), regional SA (7%) and the rest of Tassie (really only Launceston) (7%).

That changes things a bit, doesn’t it? Or perhaps it just confirms what most of us already knew.

But I bet you don’t know which postcodes had the biggest rises and falls in detached housing stock for sale.  Tune in tomorrow to find out.

PS – Thanks heaps to SQM Research for access to their latest stock for sale excel spreadsheets.

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Michael Matusik is the director of independent property advisory Matusik Property Insights.  Matusik has helped over 550 new residential developments come to fruition and writes the weekly Matusik Missive.  The Matusik Missive is free, however, reprinting, republication or distribution of any portion of this material, or inclusion on any website, is strictly prohibited without the written permission of Matusik Property Insights and may incur a charge.

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Michael is director of independent property advisory Matusik Property Insights. He is independent, perceptive and to the point; has helped over 550 new residential developments come to fruition and writes his insightful Matusik Missive


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