Cooley sees the market cooling this spring

Auctioneer Damien Cooley says there has been a definite shift in the Sydney real estate to a more stable marketplace, which could be good news for buyers.

Cooley says the recently released September Cooley Index indicates that although auction volumes in the Harbour City are up, clearance rates are inching down. As a result vendors are being more conservative.

“I think the market has come off its high. The intensity has come out of the market. We’re not in the boom anymore,” he says.

While Cooley Auctions’ September clearance rate was a healthy 65 per cent, it was actually stronger this time last year at 79 per cent. However the number of Sydney homes under the hammer sat at 404 for the month compared with 329 last September.

Despite the dip, Cooley says there is no reason for alarm. On the contrary, the auctioneer explains that the figures show a more balanced market place than in 2016.

“Those 79 per cent to 80 per cent clearance rates were during a very strong to boom market. We’re still in a very good market, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s just that the intensity has come out of it,” he says. Simply put, Cooley says there are less buyers registering per property.

“Last year when clearance rates were around 70 per cent we were averaging five bidders at an auction, this year we’re only averaging three. So that is quite a significant change.”

Although there are fewer homes selling immediately under the hammer, Cooley says properties are still finding buyers either before auction day, or in the following days.

The September Cooley Index, which saw a total of $197.8 million properties sold during the calendar month, also showed that 36 per cent of homes due to be auctioned were snapped up prior to their big day.

“Vendors are happy to accept an offer prior to auction if the offer is a good one, they’re happy to not take their chances,” he says. Cooley added that selling agents are also feeling the change in buyer sentiment.

“If they’ve got a good offer on a property they’re advising their client to accept it pre auction,” he says. And when Cooley crunched the numbers for August post-auction sales, the figures showed that the amount of properties snapped up within 14 days was an additional 7 per cent and in 28 days that number was up 10 per cent.