When sales volumes surge, prices follow: Terry Ryder on Melbourne's outer ring

When sales volumes surge, prices follow: Terry Ryder on Melbourne's outer ring
When sales volumes surge, prices follow: Terry Ryder on Melbourne's outer ring

It’s only a matter of time before Melbourne overtakes Sydney as the price growth leader in capital city Australia.

Pretty much everyone now accepts that Sydney is subsiding, as every available statistic confirms what Hotspotting research has been telling us all year – that Sydney activity peaked late in 2014 and has been on a slow fade right throughout 2015.

Melbourne, however, continues to rise.

In the latest price data from CoreLogic, up to the end of October, the annual price growth gap between Sydney and Melbourne has closed considerably. In the past three months, Melbourne’s home value index has increased 3.1%, easily the biggest among the capital cities, while Sydney’s rose only 1.5%.

In annual terms, Sydney is up 15.6% and Melbourne 12.8%. In a month or two, those positions will be reversed.

The reason Sydney is still above Melbourne at the moment, despite Sydney fading while Melbourne is rising, is that the price data is many months behind the game. 

On ABC TV yesterday business commentator Alan Kohler displayed a graph which suggested a correlation between auction clearance rates and median price movements, but with a time lag of several months in the reaction of prices.

(Kohler, incidentally, made the mistake of placing great emphasis on the monthly movement in the city price indexes – he should know that month-to-month changes in statistics are often meaningless aberrations. Many of the monthly movements are contradicted by the quarterly changes, which are far more significant.)

It’s taken quite a long time for Sydney prices to respond to the slowdown in activity, but history shows this is quite normal. It also shows that median prices are rather a blunt instrument for measuring the state of markets. Sales volumes are far more revealing and can put you ahead of the game in terms of likely price movements.

The latest sales data shows that Melbourne has been rising steadily throughout this calendar year, quite the opposite to Sydney. 

Each quarter has shown an uptick in sales activity, with the greatest momentum occurring away from the millionaire suburbs close to the CBD. This may explain why Melbourne clearance rates are dropping at a time when overall sales activity is rising and the overall city median is rising – the busiest markets are those less likely to use auctions.

There are still plenty of strong middle market areas – notably the municipalities of Whitehorse (Box Hill, Nunuwading, Blackburn), Monash (Oakleigh, Mt Waverley, Clayton) and Knox (Wantirna, Boronia, Bayswater) – but the greatest momentum is now the outer ring precincts. Locations likely to attract first time buyers and others on smaller budgets are really pumping in Melbourne. 

The LGAs of Whittlesea (Epping, Thomastown, Mill Park) and Hume (Sunbury, Roxborough Park, Gladstone Park) in the north of the metropolitan area are among the market leaders on activity.

In the far south-east, the Casey LGA (Cranbourne, Doveton, Endeavour Hills) has numerous strong markets, while Brimbank (Sunshine, Deer Park, Cairnlea) in the western suburbs is being greatly boosted by infrastructure spending and urban renewal projects.

Wyndham City LGA in the south-west has surged. In Point Cook, for example, sales numbers in the past six quarters have been 289, 313, 350, 396, 395 and 420. Other suburbs in this LGA, such as Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Wyndham Vale, have similar patterns.

When sales volumes surge like that, prices follow – with a time lag.


Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au. You can email him or follow him on Twitter.

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder

Terry Ryder is the founder of hotspotting.com.au.

Melbourne Residential Prices

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