Less homes, more buyers is the grim takeout from PropTrack’s latest analysis of property listings from around the country.

New homes for sale on the property website realestate.com.au fell away significantly last month, following the busiest February in over a decade.

According to the March 2024 PropTrack Listings Report selling activity hit the brakes across the country in March however there was more choice for buyers than a year ago.


PropTrack economist and report author Anne Flaherty says that while new listings were lower in both Sydney and Melbourne over the month, total listings held steady in March and were well up compared to 12 months ago.

Buyers in both cities benefited from more choice compared to the same month last year, with total listings up 12.8% in Melbourne and 8.8% in Sydney.


In contrast, PropTrack reports the total number of homes listed for sale was lower in Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth compared to 12 months ago. A low supply of properties has contributed to these three markets outperforming the other capital cities for median price growth over the past 12 months.

Perth has seen the largest year-on-year decline in total listings of any market, with 28.5% fewer properties for sale in March compared to the same time last year. While new listings in Perth were down over the month, buyer demand is exceeding supply in Perth.

In March, the median time taken for a home to sell in Perth fell to the lowest level seen since early 2022, before interest rates started rising.

However, amid a national immigration boom where Aussie house prices have been linked to high migration levels, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ latest Overseas Arrivals and Departures data shows unplanned mass migration reached a record high in February 2024, with permanent and long-term arrivals exceeding 100,000 for the first time.

According to the Institute for Public Affairs, net permanent and long-term arrivals in February 2024 were at a record monthly high of 105,460.

This is the first time net monthly permanent and long-term arrivals have exceeded 100,000 and it’s 19% higher than the previous record of 88,810 in February 2023.

Net permanent and long-term arrivals in the 12 months to February 2024 totalled 498,270. This is the highest 12 months to February number on record. It is 44 per cent higher than the previous record of 346,470 in the 12 months to February 2009.

Housing construction approvals in February 2024 were just 12,520, equivalent to 12% if net permanent and long-term arrivals in the same period.

The institute says Australian housing approval levels are now as low as the 1980s’ average, despite population almost doubling.

“The data proves that the federal government’s unplanned mass migration program is unsustainable. It actively undermines Australians who are struggling to find a home as increasing demand and a lack of supply is pricing them out of the market,” said an unhappy IPA on Wednesday.

Patchwork listings

Meanwhile, Australia’s regional markets displayed mixed trends over March.

While the total number of homes for sale was well up in the majority of regional areas compared to the same time last year, regional Queensland and regional Western Australia saw listings decline.

Regional Victoria has seen the strongest year-on-year growth in total listings, with the number of homes for sale up 26.8%.

Regional Northern Territory and regional Tasmania followed, with total listings up 24.5% and 21.8% respectively over the year.

Key takeaways:

Selling activity slowed in March, with new listings down 13.6% over the month and 8.8% year-on-year.

Flaherty says the timing of Easter this year played a key role in the slower month, with the Easter long weekend falling in March instead of April.

“This kick started the pre-Easter selling period earlier than usual, which contributed to February seeing the highest number of new listings in over a decade.”

Across the combined capital cities, new listings were down 8.5% year-on-year, with fewer new listings seen in every city bar Sydney.

Selling activity also slowed in the rest of state areas, with fewer new listings seen in all regional areas over both the month and the year.

“While new listings were down over the month, total listings were sitting 2% higher compared to 12 months prior, due to the flow on effect of the surge in new listings seen in the back half of February,” Flaherty says.

Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney were the cities where buyers benefited from the largest rise in choice compared to 12 months ago, while those in regional Victoria, NT, and Tasmania saw the largest rise in total listings.

“Strong buyer demand”

Compared to 12 months ago, in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and Hobart the total number of properties listed for sale was sitting solidly above the prior-decade average; in Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide, it was sitting around 40% below.

Flaherty says that following the busiest start to the year in over a decade, new for sale listings fell in March as an early Easter brought forward the slowdown in selling activity typically seen in April.

“Despite fewer properties being brought to market in March compared to 12 months ago, total listings remained up year-on-year as a result of the surge in listings seen in February.”

And despite the total number of properties listed for sale being higher overall, PropTrack data suggests the median time taken for a home to sell was lower in all states over the month, reflecting strong buyer demand.

“Buyer demand has been buoyed by a more stable interest rate environment and the expectation that rates have hit their peak and may even decline before the end of the year. Further supporting buyer demand has been population growth, which reached a record 659,800 over the 12 months to September 2023.”


The ‘PropTrack Listings Report’ details monthly changes in the number of properties listed for sale on realestate.com.au. The listings are split into ‘new’ and ‘total’ listings.

New listings consist of properties that were newly listed for sale on realestate.com.au within the reported month.

Total listings is the total supply of properties for sale in the reported month. It consists of all listings which were for sale during that month (including new listings) irrespective of the date they first appeared on site.

The geographical areas described in this report are based on the Greater Capital City Statistical Area (GCCSA) as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.