The auction market will see a stunning rise in volume over the next few weeks. But that increase in volume comes amid warnings from industry regulators about a disturbing rise in lower-quality loans and a plateau in prices. Prices falling on rising volume? Normally, that’s confirmation of a trend. 

Falling prices, rising volume points to weakening market
A huge auction market this week – 2,714 auctions overall in the capitals – still showed signs that the real estate wave may be breaking. Average clearance rates fell slightly, to 66.1 per cent, with Sydney down a bit to 67.2 per cent for the week (although this weekend Sydney seems to have returned to form.) Sydney fell 0.7 per cent for the week, and is down a full percentage point for the month. Melbourne dropped half a per cent for the week and is down 2.8 per cent for the month, wiping out gains for the year. Both remain up year over year, but falling prices on rising volume can’t be viewed positively. Read the full story here.

Regulator warns mortgage bankers not to self-destruct with slipping oversight
Competition is fierce, interest rates are tiny and bad debts have been at historically low levels. It’s a recipe for an American-style mortgage meltdown … and the potential signs of abuses in the market are starting to show. To nip it in the bud, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority gave bank boards detailed directions to prevent calamity – watch out for rapid rises in mortgage portfolios, question how you’re compensating brokers, and be aware if you suddenly start outpacing competitors for no good reason. Basically, don’t do what they did on Wall Street. Read the full story here.

The rush is on to buy property before the stamp duty tax lands
A narrow band of prices for established homes and new apartments – the $430,000 to $500,000 bracket – has become a hot ticket for first-home buyers. These properties remain exempt from $10,000 in stamp tax in Perth only until July 1.  Perversely, perhaps, the increase in demand for these properties is pushing up prices... one might assume less than $10,000. Read the full story here.

Price matters, but Sydney buyers like second toilets while Melborne buyers want bigger kitchens.
A survey by realestateVIEW looked at the qualities that move buyers most in different geographies of Australia. Kitchens matter more to Victorian home buyers, while Sydney buyers want second bathrooms. The commute matters most to Western Australia buyers. But price trumps all of that – everyone wants a good deal. Read the full story here.

Electronic conveyancing expanding in NSW, Victoria
The Property Exchange Australia, or PEXA, will support electronic conveyance of documents on new mortgages, mortgage discharges, refinances, notices, caveats and transfers in New South Wales and Victoria in October. All four major banks are PEXA members and use it to process stand-alone discharges and lodgements of mortgages. Read the full story here.