This week’s property market wrap from RPData- Tim Lawless

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released building approvals data for March 2014 earlier this week.

The data release showed that the number of approvals in March was -3.5% lower with private sector house approvals falling -0.7% and private sector unit approvals down a much greater -7.0%.

Despite consecutive monthly falls in dwelling approvals, they are still 20.0% higher year on year with private sector units (21.6%) recording a greater rise than private sector houses (19.4%).

The monthly data tends to be quite volatile so looking at the annual number of approvals provides good insight into the recent trends.

Over the year, there were 188,153 dwelling approvals which was 19.2% higher than the previous year and at its highest level since January 1995.

The number of units being approved for construction is actually at an all-time high. Read more about this week’s dwelling approvals data release at the RP Data Research Blog.

Retail trade data for March 2014 was released earlier this week by the ABS. The data showed a slow-down in retail growth over the month, with a rise of 0.1%, its lowest monthly change since trade fell by -0.1% in April of last year.

Although retail trade fell over the month, year-on-year trade has recorded a hefty rise of 5.7%. Looking across the individual states, the year-on-year increases have been greatest in New South Wales (8.6%), Tasmania (8.3%), Victoria (6.2%) and the Northern Territory (5.5%). [sam id=43 codes=’true’]

On the other hand, the annual change in retail trade has been softer in Queensland (5.0%), South Australia (3.1%), Western Australia (0.5%) and the Australian Capital Territory (-0.4%).

Looking at retail trade across industry segments, the largest annual increases have been recorded for cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (11.9%), clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (9.3%) and household goods retailing (6.4%).

Department store trade was the only segment lower over the year (-3.4%) while other retailing (4.3%) and food retailing (4.7%) recorded comparatively smaller increases over the year.

Weekly Clearance Rates

Auction activity rebounded strongly last week following successive long weekends over the previous two weeks. Across the combined capital cities there were 2,053 auctions held and the weighted average capital city auction clearance rate was recorded at 63.2%.

Auction clearance rates were the lowest of the year and down from 64.2% overt the previous week across a much lower volume of auctions (881).

Melbourne is the country’s largest auction market and the clearance rate was recorded at 61.9% last week down from 63.0% the previous week. Melbourne auction volumes were much higher last week (891) than over the previous week (373).

Across Sydney, 821 auctions were held and the clearance rate was recorded at 71.4% compared to 361 auctions and a 71.3% clearance rate over the previous week. Auction volumes are set to be lower over the current week, with 1,376 capital city auctions currently scheduled.

Weekly Advertised Listings

Over the four weeks to 4 May, there were 43,291 newly advertised properties listed for sale nationally. The number of newly advertised property listings increased by 10.1% over the week and they are currently 8.2% higher than at the same time last year. Across the combined capital cities, new listings were 8.8% higher over the week and 6.6% lower than a year ago.

There are currently 243,583 properties listed for sale across the country. Total listings at a national level were 3.1% higher over the week and -2.8% lower than they were at the same time last year.

Across the combined capital cities, total listings have increased by 3.3% over the week however, they are -8.1% lower than they were at this time a year ago. Capital city listings account for just 42% of all listings nationally.


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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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