“This means the number of auctions has had no impact on clearance rates, regardless of how fast prices are rising or falling or the level of interest rates.”

One main reason for this is every property is unique, said Mr Wiltshire, who was formerly at the Reserve Bank and the Grattan Institute.

“On a given Saturday, or over a particular month, a random selection of properties is put up for auction. The pool of buyers is also not fixed, with each buyer having different preferences and searching for properties with certain characteristics,” he said.

“So when the auction pool is smaller, there are also fewer buyers who are interested in the properties available.

“So it’s not the case that there is a fixed pool of buyers that will be bidding for the properties available each month or each Saturday, regardless of the number on offer.”

Sold over price guide: 31 Witchwood Crescent, Burwood East in Melbourne. 

Mr Wiltshire said there was a caveat to the analysis because it was based on 20-year averages and so on any one day, there are occasions where fewer listings can drive up auction clearance rates.  The analysis was also done at a city level so there may be suburbs or pockets where the same effect could have taken place.

On the flipside, there are also unique seller behaviours which explain the low level of listings now. Supply reacted to prices but don’t expect supply to appear quickly, Mr Wiltshire warned. Sellers who are watching the market are lagging demand by three to six months.

Corelogic data on Sydney and Melbourne sales over the past week shows preliminary clearances in houses and units are similar, indicating not all is lost in apartments, where supply is higher and confidence due to the NSW defects is dented.

Houses on large land sites in all directions of Sydney and Melbourne have sold particularly well, hitting prices above initial guide, but not everything sold easily.

The huge 1400sq m house at 24 Golfers Lane in Sydney’s Roseville on the north shore passed in over the weekend.

The outlook on house price growth ahead remains flat to moderate. Insurer QBE’s Housing Outlook on Sunday expects house prices in Sydney to rise about 1.2 per cent in the year to June 2020 while Melbourne’s prices will be largely flat, dampened by an oversupply of newly completed dwellings, particularly units.

Brisbane’s house prices could see a resurgence. The capital’s cheaper homes will attract more buyers and price growth is expected to accelerate from 2020/21, QBE says.

Crucially, prices in all cities in the next year won’t emulate bumper prices at the peak of 2017 especially with tighter credit standards still in place amid an abundance of new unit supply and a very soft economic outlook, AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said.