How many homes are available for sale around Australia?

Well the question may seem straight forward but the answer is anything but. Counting the number of homes being advertised for sale accurately is a pretty complex process. Properties around Australia are advertised across multiple channels including a variety of web portals, newspapers and free press. Homes are even advertised for sale on ebay or simply by a sign in the front yard. Across each of these channels there is generally little standardisation of address formats which makes de-duplicating the data quite an involved task.

As of last week RP Data are tracking 263,684 unique houses and units that are currently being advertised for sale around the country. We collect the listings data via a formal arrangement with Australia’s largest property portal, as well as by keying the classified ads from each of the major newspapers around the country. Once this process is completed it would not be uncommon to have three or more separate advertisements for each property.

The next stage in the process is to de-duplicate the dataset. We do this by normalising all the address strings (this is a complex process in itself) for each listing and then matching the normalised listing data to a central ‘ownership’ database – essentially a list of unique addresses for every property across the country.

We also need to allow for the fact that not every property is advertised consistently every week. For this reason our listing counts are based on a rolling four week period. Essentially this means that if a home has been advertised at least once over the past four weeks it will be counted as an active listing. Further segmenting the data, we can classify a home that has not been advertised for sale within the past 365 days as a ‘new’ listing – all other advertisements are classified as ‘re-listings’. Add the two together and that is our ‘total’ listing number.

It’s important to point out that some properties do fly under the radar. For example, homes that are not advertised individually will generally go uncounted. This generally includes new housing estates and new high density unit developments which are selling ‘off the plan’.

RP Data’s measurement of listing volumes saw a recent peak at 285,073 unique listings across the nation, with 136,271 (48%) of those homes located within the capital cities. The recent peak was recorded over the four week period ending June 12 and since this time national listings volumes have fallen by 7.5% nationally and 7.6% across the capital cities.

The downwards trend in listing numbers can be attributed to a slowdown in the number of new listings together with a small improvement in transaction volumes over recent months. Effective supply levels remain well above the highs seen back in 2008 however, highlighting that vendors have a lot of competition when it comes to selling a home.

About Tim Lawless

Tim heads up the RP Data research and analytics team, analysing real estate markets, demographics and economic trends across Australia

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12 Responses to How many homes are available for sale around Australia?

  1. Bernard Gorman August 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    I have been closely watching and INSPECTING the housing market (largely in a clearly defined geographic area)for the past 27months. I sold my house largely to downsize. As I’m Retired I was originally under the impression that I could purchase Stanp Duty Free. With housing clearly ‘overpriced’ to average incomes and fees and stamp duty additional expense, I would be a fool to purchase in the current housing market which is clearly heading south, admittingly just at the start of the slope with no certainty how steep the slope is or how far to the bottom. Admittedly the current lower end of the market (Basic three bed one bathroom- first home type)is holding ground, anything more upmarket is clearly subject to quite severe discounting. Clearly costs of home ownership and overvaluation will become a severe handicap to growth in the housing market unless some serious review of housing, LAND and construction costs are effected by Local and State Gov. I am a Retired Building Tradesman, and have constructed and/or renovated several properties in the past but realise it would not be economical or prudent at present. Another interesting fact why do R/E agents now avoid advertising addresses of houses for sale?? is it because many of them are now unoccupied? Is there really a severe housing shortage??

    • Braim April 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

      I’m reading this 2 years later and see that things went like what you predicted there not like our R/E Agent Bill claimed it would be.
      What scares me is that R/E Agents keep telling me as a first home buyer that NOW is the best time to buy. Has anyone seen them telling a buyer it’s not a good time?!

      • Justin June 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

        Unlike America we will not crash, but watch out for an extended period of price retraction similar to Japan. It will only be accelerated credit growth that could ever push prices up any further… And we are at unsustainable levels of debt.
        We are also experiencing the longest run of economic expansion, unbroken by recession, of any western country, ever.
        Yes, ever.
        We are either pioneers in economic wizardry or something is just around the corner.

  2. Bill September 2, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

    In response to Bernard Gorman, I am not sure what country you live in? It has never been the case where you can buy a property without paying stamp duty, so am once again not sure why you would even think, that the government wouldnt charge you stamp duty when everyone else has to pay it, unless of course if you live in Victoria and buy a new property that hasnt been constructed yet, and then you still have to pay stamp duty on the land value. Your comment of “With housing clearly ‘overpriced’ to average incomes”, where are you looking? I have been in the real estate industry since 1979, and know for a fact that housing is affordable as long as you are not looking to purchase in areas such as Brighton etc… Once again let me point out with a statement such as “I would be a fool to purchase in the current housing market which is clearly heading south, admittingly just at the start of the slope with no certainty how steep the slope is or how far to the bottom.” I am not sure really how intelligent a person you are? My belief (once again having over 30 years of experience in the industry) real estate is the safest investment out there, it has been proven over the last 100+ years that real estate will double on average in 7 – 10 years! Real Estate has bottomed out, it cant go any lower, especially if you read today’s article in the Australian Financial Review where it states”Housing shortage will turn dire by 2020″ what this means is that there is not enough housing in Australia to satisfy the need, it also states we will have a shortage of housing of in between 91,800 to 155,700 dwellings in every state of Australia, with a total housing shortage number to be in the vicinity of over 500,000 nationwide. In regards to your last statement of “Another interesting fact why do R/E agents now avoid advertising addresses of houses for sale?? is it because many of them are now unoccupied? The reason for this my uninformed friend is called marketing, if the address is not there and you are interested you will contact the agent and then he has what is called a lead! And in saying that getting to your last statement “Is there really a severe housing shortage??” read above. You sound like the old man sitting on the bench with the statement below the photo stating ” This is a photo of the young man, waiting for real estate prices to go down”!

    • justin November 30, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      Bill displays the classic textbook real estate agent pitch like a pro.
      When he pulls his head out of the sand and looks at the financial mess the world is in he will see that we can only “paper over” our issues for so long. Housing will not be left unnafected by hyper- inflation and rises in unemployment.
      Keep up the good work lobbying for the real estate fraterninty! I do enjoy reading the honest and real world summary provided by Bernard.

    • justin November 30, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      Another interesting fact why do R/E agents now avoid advertising addresses of houses for sale?? is it because many of them are now unoccupied? The reason for this my uninformed friend is called marketing, if the address is not there and you are interested you will contact the agent and then he has what is called a lead!
      My pompous friend- Real estate agents would sell their mother for a lead! It is interesting that every house I have ever enquired about without an advertised address has been vacant..?

  3. Marie Pryce September 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    a good explaination to Bernard, sometimes when we are not in the cold front of real estate we really dont know what is happening..and one cannot say what the market is doing just because its your own experience.. now is the best time to purchase a property.. particularly that the market has adjusted the price, and with interest rates staying low and rents are climbing… best to be paying a mortage then rent in the long run…
    When i was 19 i had to work 3 jobs to help pay my mortage and go without buying stuff so i had enough to pay the mortgage…. a house at Wynnum $15,000 if Ihad that same house today in todays market it would be worth $500,000. 30 years later.. who would have believed it!…
    GO out and buy now, before the market changes and you are paying a premium.. and in competition with another buyer,, we had experienced that rush on property and look where it got, prices shot though the roof, dont think the good times wont come again..this is the property cycle…

  4. Kevin Kelley May 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm #

    That’s all well and good. Yes, there may be a housing shortage, due to get worse in the future. But, house prices took a slight fall during the GFC, triggered by subprime lending in the US. Our stock market went down (although slightly) also. What does this mean when the U.S. government finally succumbs to bankruptcy, Or, when the EURO nations takes a tumble.

    Obviously, i believe its safe to assume that as a nation, we are adversely affected by whatever happens around the globe. Will we take a bigger hit if or when the next crisis hits the world?

    I can only see 265000 properties for sale in Australia right now, but if we suffered an increase in the unemployed by just 3%, bringing it to par at 8% with the U.S. and the United Kingdom currently, then we could also see another 100,000 plus homes flood the market or go underwater. That would have a negative effect of a surge in foreclosed homes in Australia, which would further push down prices.

    I know it’s a lot of what if’s, but they are plausible. So, maybe we need to take into account what’s happening around the world. We are increasingly becoming connected to the sway of the globe, and we should adjust our view to whats happening elsewhere also.

    • Time in the market October 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Hi All,

      I think Bill is a very wise voice on the topic of property, the reality is that if you can manage to invest and hold a property for 10-15 years you will always enjoy a very secure investment return, we as Australians pay a high price for property which in the future will be in very high Demand as our population increases, the history of property requires TIME int he Market “Not Timing.”
      Economic cycles are a reality of a bulging population World wide and Australia is very attractive to people from around the world in less desirable population density , many properties in Australia are not listed to sell and are sold Internationally, this is something that all the statistics don’t state.

      Our Government Population growth strategies will determine property demand more so than all the economic statistics…. we have a global real estate economy.

      Just buy a property when your ready and do your research.

      Happy investing…..

      Time in the market

  5. Time in the market October 10, 2013 at 10:30 pm #

    Hi All,

    Have managed yo read the entire blog and all of your opinions are very valid on a micro and macro economic level, the fact is that if our population increases to 50-70 million within the next 50-100 years as many of the demographers refer to, all of the current data needs to be multiplied, our ability to populate Australia wisely will ensure stable property values for many years to come.

    The Lucky Country

    PS: We now have a multi Billion Dollar De-sal plant that can solve any water concerns in Victoria!

  6. Time in the market October 10, 2013 at 10:46 pm #


    You could buy a 1 bed apartment in Barcelona for $80K Euros at the moment, on your VISA card ! or a 3 Bed house with Pool on the Casa Blanco Coast for around $280-300KEuro(With POOL) the problem is, if the tenants don’t pay the rent you need the SAS special forces to remove them, so return on investment a little volatile, my little one bed in Elwood is 4 times the value and yes may well only yield me 5% but I have control of my investment and absolute protection within the property ownership and Rental tenancy laws that comes at a premium to us as Australian citizens

    Buy yourself a property mate and get someone else to pay for it, Keep renting if you like!!

  7. Time in the market October 10, 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    Braim and Justin, just buy something, you will never regret as long as you can afford it.

    If you want to play gold or shares then do so, otherwise look at the 200 years of Property history and the natural economic issue of Supply and demand, our population world wide keeps growing we need shelter………

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