Stagnant residential stock levels could be the first tangible sign that buyers are returning to the property market, a property research company has said.
While figures released by SQM Research revealed the level of residential property listings around the nation remained relatively unchanged in October, big falls were recorded on an on-year basis in Sydney, Perth and Darwin.
“Most notable of the capital city decreases is Darwin, which has recorded a -26.3 per cent decline in stock since the corresponding period of the previous year,” SQM Research said.
“With only a little over a thousand properties listed for sale in this capital city, we are continuing to see a definite supply problem in this capital city.
“Both Sydney and Perth have also shown considerable yearly declines, with each of the capital cities decreasing in stock levels by 11.6 per cent and 11.0 per cent respectively since October 2011.”
On a month-on-month basis national listing numbers remained relatively steady at 374,445, up just 0.3 per cent when compared to September.
“Month-on-month, Canberra and Sydney have experienced the most noteworthy increases, climbing by 6.0 per cent and 4.5 per cent respectively,” SQM Research said. On a month-on-month basis Melbourne recorded a 1.4 per cent decline in stock levels; Brisbane was down 0.9 per cent, while Adelaide's residential listing numbers were up 1.7 per cent.
“As the spring selling season is well under way, the increases in these capital cities do not come as a surprise; what is surprising, however, is that stock levels have not swollen dramatically during spring as is usually seasonally expected," the company continued.
“This is perhaps a potential indicator that the market has begun to recover – albeit modestly.”
Managing director of SQM Research, Louis Christopher, said the October result was a surprise.
“We were expecting listings to rise in October following the steady result in September and to be fair some capital cities have recorded a rise, but overall it is becoming clear to us that this is an abnormal result for this time of year and suggests to us that stock is being absorbed by buyers and/or vendors have been withdrawing their listings,” he said.
“We are starting to believe that it is the former rather than the latter.”