Median house prices at auction break records in August, despite lockdowns

Australians continued to buy property under the hammer at record prices during August, despite protracted lockdowns in its two biggest capital city markets, with Sydney’s auction median reaching a whopping $1.92 million and Melbourne’s $1.19 million.

The latest Domain Auction Report found that Sydney, Brisbane, and Canberra recorded the highest clearance rates for the month of August since Domain records began.

While Sydney and Melbourne’s median auction prices for houses soared to record highs, they were up elsewhere too, nearing records in Brisbane ($990,000), Canberra ($1 million) and Adelaide ($729,000).

Domain chief of research and economics Nicola Powell, said the strength of capital city auction markets across the nation showcased unusually strong competition and demand over the final month of winter.

“It’s phenomenal. For some buyers, lockdowns aren’t deterring,” she said.

Capital city auction performance for August 2021 

City Clearance Rate Auctions Scheduled Auctions Sold Passed in Sold prior Withdrawn
Sydney 77.3% 2272 1737 155 46.5% 15.8%
Melbourne 52.5% 4138 1526 121 28.3% 43.4%
Brisbane 60.1% 546 323 151 24.8% 11.7%
Adelaide 71.2% 538 371 111 13.2% 7.5%
Canberra 83.6% 368 255 15 30.8% 11.5%
Geographies are based on ABS GCCSA geography. Auction reporting rates are 98.9 per cent in Sydney, 98.4 per cent in Brisbane, 96.8 per cent in Adelaide, 82.9 per cent in Canberra and 70.3  per cent in Melbourne. Melbourne’s collection rate is impacted by a higher than normal number of postponed auctions.
Data provided by  

“The fact is, lockdowns or not, some people still need to buy; they could be in between houses, they could have missed out earlier in the year, and now they’re ploughing ahead and making a strong offer.”

Sydney’s strong clearance rate had largely been supported by having fewer homes on the market but a high level of demand from buyers.

In Brisbane, Place Estate Agents chief auctioneer Peter Burgin said auctions had well and truly cemented their place in the property market in 2021.

“Everything about August was unprecedented. In terms of volume, it was unprecedented; the number of buyers was unprecedented. We’re now averaging eight people for every auction. That number last year would have been three, possibly four,” he said.

“The market is exceeding vendor expectations. Every week you go into another bunch of auctions and say, is this the week the market is going to give us a bit of a black eye – but no, bang, it’s back on. People are going with fairly aggressive bids and bidding competitively.”

Mr Burgin said Brisbane’s exploding auction market was unlikely to soften any time soon.

“There are so many powerful forces working in the Brisbane market. Brisbane as a city is a very desirable place to live. The locals are getting that – there’s more and more interest in our market. I think we’ve got every right to see that Brisbane’s future is bright.”


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