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State of the property market: March 2021

April 14, 2021 10:00 am by Upside

It’s almost hard to believe that this time last year, the consensus was that there would be a very sharp and painful free fall in home values in the most prized Australian real estate markets of Sydney and Melbourne. The height of the coronavirus pandemic brought with it uncertainty, and worries that properties would see a dip in the thousands in median prices - this couldn’t have been more wrong!

Week after week, we have seen prices reach record highs in most capital cities, while an endless slate of unprecedented real estate events have occurred in the short time of 2021 that we have so far experienced.

According to the latest data from Corelogic released in the April 2021 Monthly Insights report:

  • In the three months to March, national home values rose 5.8%, which is the highest quarterly growth rate since October 2003
  • CoreLogic’s national home value index recorded a 2.8% rise in March, the fastest rate of appreciation since October 1988 (3.2%).
  • The combined regional dwelling market was 11.4% higher in value over the year
  • With the recent surge in housing values, most of the capital cities have seen housing values move to new record highs
  • CoreLogic estimates sales volumes increased 12.6% nationally over the twelve months to March, with over 25% of the uplift stemming from regional NSW alone.
  • At the national level, properties typically sold in 37 days in the three months to March 2021; 8 days less than the same period in 2020.
  • In the four weeks to April 4th, the combined capital cities auction clearance rate averaged 80.3%, reflecting strong buyer demand.
  • CoreLogic’s weekly auction clearance rate across the combined capitals has been at or above 80% just five times since 2008, and four of those were in March 2021.
  • Total listings remain tight due to strong absorption from sales, leaving listings volumes 26.0% below the 5 year average.

Change in house values

Month Quarter Annual Median value
Sydney 3.70% 6.70% 5.40% $928,028
Melbourne 2.40% 4.90% 0.70% $736,620
Brisbane 2.40% 4.80% 6.80% $548,260
Adelaide 1.50% 3.20% 8.60% $486,555
Perth 1.80% 5.00% 6.00% $505,850
Hobart 3.30% 7.60% 12.50% $548,686
Darwin 2.30% 5.40% 14.20% $451,408
Canberra 2.80% 6.00% 12.10% $727,032
Combined capitals 2.80% 5.60% 4.80% $693,936
Combined regionals 2.50% 6.30% 11.40% $448,819
National 2.80% 5.80% 6.20% $614,768

Source: Index results as at March 31 2021, CoreLogic Home Value Index

This week across the capital city real estate markets

Auction volumes continue to rise off the back of the busiest Easter we have seen for some time, with 2,170 homes taken to auction. Over the same week last year, we began to see the easing of real estate activity due to the social distancing measures which saw the banning of on-site auctions.

Capital City Auction Statistics (Preliminary)

City Clearance rate Total auctions Clearance rate (last year) Total auctions (last year)
Sydney 82.8% 814 32.1% 413
Melbourne 77.2% 1,035 20% 88
Brisbane 80.9% 123 23.5% 41
Adelaide 82.6% 95 33.3% 39
Perth 44.4% 18 40% 8
Tasmania n.a. 6 n.a 3
Canberra 90.1% 79 43.9% 42
Weighted average 79.9% 2,170 30.6% 634

Capital city home value changes

City Weekly change Monthly change Year to date change 12 month change
Sydney 0.5% 2.7% 7.5% 5.8%
Melbourne 0.2% 1.8% 5.3% 0.8%
Brisbane 0.5% 2.0% 5.4% 7.3%
Adelaide 0.4% 1.5% 3.7% 9.0%
Perth 0.2% 1.3% 5.3% 6.2%
Combined 5 capitals 0.4% 2.2% 6.2% 4.8%

Capital city properties listed for sale

Capital city No of new listings 12 month change (%) No of Total listings 12 month change (%)
Sydney 6,741 20.1% 19,304 -13.9%
Melbourne 8,424 45.1% 26,533 5.0%
Brisbane 3,783 8.9% 14,828 -29.5%
Adelaide 1,807 21.3% 5,492 -28.0%
Perth 4,240 101.6% 14,190 -20.0%
Hobart 278 -32.4% 767 -30.0%
Darwin 153 66.3% 658 -35.6%
Canberra 574 12.1% 1,651 -31.4%
Combined Capitals 26,000 33.4% 83,423 -15.4%

But there is still a disconnect between demand and supply

Throughout March, total advertised listings remained extremely low, ending the month at -25.5% below the five year average, despite new properties for sale nationally trending 8.1% higher than a year ago and 3% above the five year average.

According to CoreLogic's research director Tim Lawless, the main reason total listing numbers remain so low is that buyer demand is consistently outweighing new advertised supply.

The ratio of sales to new listings is tracking at around 1.1, implying for every new listing added to the market, 1.1 homes are sold. Such a rapid rate of absorption is keeping overall inventory levels low and adding to a sense of FOMO amongst buyers.”

The seller market frenzy continues to rage on, with CoreLogic estimating that the number of home sales over the March quarter were 21.9% higher than a year ago, propped up by auction clearance rates above 80% throughout March, rapid selling times and low discounting rates for private treaty sales.

With Autumn generally a strong time for real estate activity in Australia, if you’re thinking of selling this year, time is of the essence! Right now is the window of opportunity while listings still remain lower than average (meaning less competition) to capitalise on the continued strong buyer surge in this seller’s market.

Speak to your local Upside agent today to find out what your home is worth in this rising market.


Upside is an Australian-owned, full-service real estate agency with local real estate agents, low fixed fees and zero commission. Our standard is other agents’ ‘extras’, delivering vendors a complete agent managed service including a full appraisal, open home management, copywriting, photography, signage and advertising. It's the way real estate should be.

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