Canberra’s auction market weathers public holiday distractions

Andrew Wilson: Canberra leads capital city pack for house price growth

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The Canberra housing market has weathered a month of lengthy holiday distractions, reporting more solid results for sellers.

With May arriving, however, all eyes will turn to the contents of the federal government’s Budget, to be announced next week and likely to prominently feature initiatives directed specifically at the national housing market.

Canberra recorded a clearance rate of 67 per cent over April, which was slightly lower than the 68.2 per cent reported over March but well clear of the 62.3 per cent recorded over the same month last year.

During April, 327 homes were listed for auction in Canberra, which was predictably lower than the 350 listed over March but higher than the 302 listed over April last year. During the first four months of this year 1005 auctions have been listed, which is a sharp increase of 16.5 per cent, or 142 more than the 863 listed over the same period last year.

Although Canberra auction clearance rates and volumes were down over April, the median auction price increased over the month to $710,000, compared with the $705,000 recorded over March. The median auction price has now increased by 2.9 per cent over the past year.

Belconnen was the top-performing Canberra auction region over April with a clearance rate of 77.3 per cent and the highest listings with 88. Next highest was Canberra Central with 72.7 per cent and 60 listings, followed by Woden Valley with 68.3 per cent and 42 listings, Gungahlin with 60.9 per cent and 47 listings, Weston Creek with 54.5 per cent and 32 listings and Tuggeranong with 53.7 per cent and 58 auction listings.

Canberra Central recorded the highest median auction price over April at $1.1 million and an increase of 23.9 per cent over the past year. Next highest was Woden Valley at $895,000, up 27.8 per cent, followed by Gungahlin at $727,000, up 1 per cent, Weston Creek at $668,000, up 6.5 per cent, Tuggeranong at $623,250, up 11.2 per cent, and Belconnen with a median auction price of $607,500, which was a decline of 2.8 per cent compared with April last year.

Over recent months governments and policymakers have directed significant attention to solving perceived housing market imbalances. The clear risk, however, is that ad-hoc, one-size-fits-all policies may create or exacerbate stress in local markets and market segments.

Monetary policy continues its weighty focus on supposed generalised housing market stress, with the Reserve Bank leaving rates on hold again this month in hopeful anticipation of an economic revival sooner rather than later.

Next week it will be the turn of fiscal policy to address the much-promoted woes of the housing market through the Federal Budget. Relax everyone.

Dr Andrew Wilson is Domain Group Chief Economist [email protected] join on LinkedIn and Facebook at MyHousingMarket.