Residential listing numbers eased in April across all capital cities yet house prices are expected to remain weak.
Figures released by SQM Research revealed that residential listings declined during the month of April 2012, decreasing by 4.2 per cent from March and coming to a national total of 371,470.
According to SQM, with stock on market figures stabilising in recent months, it appears the nation’s housing market may have peaked in sale listings for this cycle, with all capital cities recording declines in stock levels.
“Now while stock levels maybe be peaking, that doesn’t mean prices have suddenly stopped falling,” said managing director of SQM Research, Louis Christopher.
As the ABS data illustrates, house prices were falling in the March quarter and we think they are still falling as we speak. I’d like to see a sustained decline in stock levels before calling a real bottom in prices. But overall, the worst now is likely behind us with this current downturn, especially taking into account, [last] week’s rate cuts.”
This is consistent with the findings of the recent Real Estate Business Sentiment Survey, with 90 per cent of the 283 respondents to the online poll expecting house prices in their area to either fall or remain static in the second quarter.
According to SQM Research, Adelaide listing numbers eased 2.5 per cent on-month in April; Brisbane was 6.9 per cent lower; Canberra sank 7.2 per cent; Darwin fell 6.8 per cent; Hobart lost 2.0 per cent; Melbourne weakened by 4.7 per cent; Perth dropped 5.5 per cent, while Sydney shed 12.1 per cent.
Year-on-year, national stock levels rose 0.3 per cent increase nationally – the smallest yearly rise to have been recorded during the past 12 months.
“This is an indicator that stock levels may have reached their highest levels for the time being and may begin to fall-off in the coming months,” SQM said.
“It is becoming more evident that the number of real estate listings has reached its peak,” Mr Christopher said.
“Indeed, for a number of cities now stock levels are now trending down. Those cities include, Perth, Brisbane, Darwin and possibly Sydney, though we note Sydney stock levels have been volatile of late.”
SQM Research added that its stock on market index for Canberra has been revised and the back series adjusted to include sale listings from online real estate advertisement website www.allhomes.com.au, which has altered this capital city’s figures slightly upwards. “However the ongoing trends for Canberra have remained the same,” SQM said.