More than half of property sellers withdraw homes from market in first six weeks of COVID-19

Property auctions in Australia dropped by almost a third during the peak of COVID-19 in Australia, with more than half of vendors choosing to postpone their sale until more confidence comes back into the market.New data from property research firm CoreLogic shows that over the June 2020 quarter – auctions were down 27 per cent compared to the prior March quarter, and down 24 per cent from the comparable period last year.Notably, the first six weeks of the quarter saw 56 per cent vendors withdraw their property with intentions to re-list once conditions improve.

CoreLogic’s Head of Research Eliza Owens said the initial shock of the pandemic was severe.”The initial market response to COVID-19 was a severe drop in sales and listings across both auction and private treaty sales methods,” Ms Owens said.”Many vendors who did not have to sell were initially unwilling to take their property to market in a time of high uncertainty.

“This contributed to a fall in sales volumes of -32.4 per cent over April.”However, following this initial shock, transaction activity has steadily recovered as social distancing measures eased, and consumer confidence levels experienced a strong recovery in May and June.”In its research note Corelogic noted COVID-19 created some of the “greatest disruptions” to normal business, with the harshest restrictions being implemented just prior to the June quarter.

“These restrictions resulted in the banning of on-site auctions and inspections, forcing real estate agents to pivot to online solutions or convert to private treaty methods of sale in a bid to maintain business as usual,” the research firm noted.”However, online solutions weren’t enough to maintain the usual levels of activity seen, and large proportions of homes that were scheduled for auction prior to the bans started being withdrawn from the market.”Equally, the number of homes scheduled for auction each week remained at lower than usual levels throughout May.”