Due to the rise in interest rates by the nation’s major banks, buyers have become wary, resulting in a downward trend for the home auction market in Sydney.

The city posted its lowest clearance rate for the year on Saturday, with the market tracking at its lowest levels since spring 2012, according to Domain.com.au. During the weekend, the result was at 64.4%, lower than the 65.1% recorded the previous weekend and considerably lower than last year’s 78.9% during the same period.

Sydney’s market is headed toward record low clearance rates below 60% this spring. This comes as a surprising twist to some, as the rate tracked near 90% just five months ago.

Westpac and the other banks who have recently announced that they would be raising their mortgage rates for owner-occupiers have inadvertently lowered buyer confidence. It is this buyers’ nervousness that is now driving the market, for better or worse.

A large number of listings still define the spring market, with supply slowly catching up to demand. Exactly 796 auctions were scheduled for Saturday, compared to 870 the previous Saturday.

Competition remains fierce between sellers as the next major auction event draws near. The Spring Super this Saturday is set to match or even top the all-time record of 1128 last March 28. Buyers—while fewer in number—will be treated to many more options to choose from, while sellers will be anxious to secure deals before the market dries up by the end of the year.

The previous weekend revealed that higher-priced regions closer to the city continued to post healthy clearance rates. Outer western suburbs, on the other hand, had lower rates. The northwest area reported a distressing 27% clearance rate, with only nine of its 33 properties selling.

Despite the fall in clearance rates, trend auction prices continued to climb. From the previous weekend’s $1,115,625, Saturday recorded a rise to $1,136,750. This is a 19.3% improvement from last year’s $952,625 for the same period.


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