Get ready to ‘move forward’ on auctions front

It’s that time again when Australians head to the polls and reduce property market activity to a crawl. Today, there are only 170 auctions listed – less than half the number of the previous weekend. This is almost identical to what happened during the November 2007 federal election.

Before today, we had seen house price growth start to soften during winter, in line with falling auction clearance rates, weak housing finance and the impact from nearly six consecutive interest rate rises – the last in May. We’re also likely to see the same price trend continue until the end of this month.

Both elections will have been held during tightening phases of monetary policy, with the RBA wary of inflation.

The difference this time around is the Gillard government has avoided an unpleasant rate rise, which the Howard government had to deal with.

Despite issues surrounding housing supply, affordability, infrastructure, pressure on credit availability, record house price growth and very low rental vacancy rates, this election campaign has been surprisingly bereft of much vision for the future of the property market. It looks like another three years under the weight of the same issues.

So “moving forward”, next weekend is likely to have a lot of auction activity. In 2007, the number of properties both listed and sold in the two weekends following the election was more than double that from the election Saturday. With sound levels of activity to continue, and with clearance rates starting to stabilise, the spring selling season is shaping up as another busy time for auctions.