Which city’s property sellers are feeling confident?

A new report showed property listings in all cities experienced an increase in March, with vendors in one capital city showing greater confidence by increasing their asking prices.

Data from SQM Listings showed total residential listings stood at 249,404 homes last month, up by 7.9 per cent from 231,039 in February. 

Sydney was the top-performing city in terms of listings during the month, posting a 9.9 per cent increase over the month. Rounding out the top three were Melbourne and Adelaide, where listings rose 9.6 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively. 

New listings (or properties that have been on the market for less than 30 days) increased by 6.8 per cent in March, with 75,799 added to the market, while listings greater than 180 days old or old listings rose by 4.6 per cent to 65,633 properties.

On an annual basis, there was a 14.2 per cent increase in residential property listings across the country, with Hobart experiencing a substantial increase of 100.4 per cent and Canberra with a significant 26.3 per cent gain during the period. In contrast, Perth saw a 2.1 per cent year-on-year decline in residential property listings.

SQM Research’s managing director, Louis Christopher, said that March had recorded a combination of rising newer listings as well as a build-up of older stock not selling.

“There are now more property listings in the market than we recorded this time last year.”

But he also noted that total listings remain well below long-term averages, citing that in previous downturns, total listings for any given month would still clock in above the 300,000 mark. 

“We are simply just not seeing those numbers in this cycle and it is one of the key reasons the housing market has not corrected more than feared.”

Despite the rise in listings, combined home asking prices declined by 1.2 per cent over the month.

Mr Christopher said SQM had recorded ongoing weakness in the regions’ asking prices and that it was apparent Melbourne vendors still lacked some confidence.

“However, Sydney property sellers actually lifted their asking prices last month. And one only does that when there are more buyers in the market,” Mr Christopher said.

Sydney markedly bucked the downward trend, with the prices in the NSW capital rising 1.8 per cent month-on-month. Meanwhile, Melbourne’s asking prices were down by 0.8 per cent. 

And while distressed property listings increased by 5.1 per cent, the investment research house noted that the figures still remain at “benign levels”.

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