Fresh hope for Sydney, Melbourne homebuyers as listings surge

Home sellers are feeling confident after the end-of-year break, as property listings rose across the country in January, led by big jumps in Sydney and Melbourne.

Home sellers are feeling confident after the end-of-year break as property listings rise across the country, led by big jumps in Sydney and Melbourne.  

The latest PropTrack Listings Report showed property listings on were up 12% year-on-year in January, reflecting this year’s heightened market conditions compared to a year ago.

The flow of new listings takes total listings to more ‘normal’ levels in some of the major capital cities, giving buyers more choice after rising interest rates in 2022 and 2023 caused many sellers to sit on the sidelines.

PropTrack senior economist Angus Moore said Melbourne and Sydney both experienced a particularly busy start to the year, while other markets remained a bit more subdued. 

"New listings in Sydney were 27.7% higher than at the same time last year and they were 27.8% higher year-on-year in Melbourne," Mr Moore said.

“More activity in property markets than we were seeing in early 2023 is being supported by strong demand, very low unemployment, population growth, tight rental market conditions, and a more stable outlook for interest rates."

The RBA held interest rates steady at 4.35% during its February meeting, as inflation cooled to its lowest level in two years.

City of Sydney cityscape skyline - aerial view from Inner city Surry Hills suburb on a sunny day.

New listings in Sydney were 27.7% higher year-on-year in January. Picture: Getty

Mr Moore said while there is a possibility of further interest rate increases, financial markets are currently pricing in interest rates cuts later in the year.  

Are we entering a buyers' market?

The busier month of new properties hitting the market has improved choice for buyers nationally, with the total number of properties listed for sale sitting 4.5% higher than a year ago.

Mr Moore said total stock levels are at quite reasonable levels in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Hobart.

"In all four cities, the total number of properties listed for sale was above, or within 10%, of the average over the past decade."

BresicWhitney chief executive Thomas McGlynn said listings across their business increased last month, to be up by more than 20% year-on-year.  

“We’re definitely in an environment in Sydney where it looks like buyers have more choice, but at the same time clearance rates have come back stronger year-on-year as well,” Mr McGlynn said.  

“Although there are more properties coming onto the market this year, there’s enough buyer demand there in Sydney to keep up with the increase in listings. 

“There’s been a question of whether the Sydney market has enough depth in order to fulfil a 20-30% uplift in sales and it looks like there are enough buyers in the market," he said.

Listing volumes in Sydney have had a strong start to the year, but real estate agents say demand is matching supply. Picture: Getty

Mark Lynch, head of growth at Barry Plant, said homebuyers and sellers were feeling positive about the Melbourne property market.

He said the business had also seen a more-than 20% jump in new listings in January year-on-year.

“Home buyers have a level of confidence as to where things are right now after riding the wave of interest rate rises,” he said, noting the number of people attending home opens is well up compared to last year. 

“Despite a lot of investors deserting the market at points last year, people are coming back to look at the returns on properties and considering getting back into property investment market," he said.

"So I think we’ll see gains later in the year, as people watch what happens with interest rates.”  

New listings in Hobart were 4.3% higher year-on-year and up 13.2% in Canberra, marking the busiest January for Canberra on record. 

Where supply is still lagging

However, Mr Moore noted the same is not true in other capital cities.

"While Brisbane and Adelaide saw a stronger start to the year than in 2023, the number of new listings was not unusual, and in Brisbane was even a little quieter than typical," Mr Moore said.

"Perth recorded slightly fewer new listings this year than in January 2023."

Listings remain well below the decade average in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. Picture: Getty

The total number of properties listed for sale in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth remains down more than 40% relative to the prior-decade average, he said, with all three cities recording declines relative to a year ago.

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