Low clearance rates overstate housing fall

Auction clearance rates in Australia's two largest property markets are still below 50 per cent but the Housing Industry Association said there's a danger in reading too much into the figures which are not seasonally adjusted. Sydney's auction rate was at 37.4 per cent and Melbourne's at 48.9 per cent last weekend – down from highs of 80 per cent in 2002. Australian Property Monitors said the slump in Melbourne clearance rates started with apartments and has spread to houses. Outside auction clearance rates, everything else is pointing to a soft landing, the HIA's chief economist Simon Tennant said. The Real Estate Institute of Australia said there's been a shift in the way people are buying property. In a softer market they know they can buy after auction at a cheaper price.