Australia’s two largest property markets – Sydney and Melbourne – warmed up during July ahead of the spring selling season.

New Proptrack research found Sydney and Melbourne listings bucked the trend with more new listings in July this year than last, up 9.2% and Melbourne 9.1%, respectively.

Both cities saw more new listings in July than typical over the past decade.

It was also the first time either city had recorded positive annual growth since spring 2022.

Nationally, new listings on declined slightly in July compared to the same time last year, down 4.9% year-on-year.

Despite uplifts in Sydney and Melbourne, new listings remained lower than a year ago across the combined capital cities, down 1.4% year-on-year.

Regional areas also had fewer new listings in July compared to a year ago, down 10.4%.

PropTrack senior economist Angus Moore said property market activity was showing early signs of picking up in Sydney and Melbourne amid what is typically the quieter winter season.

“Australia’s two largest property markets both saw more new listings than has been typical on average for mid-winter over the past decade,” Mr Moore said.

“Activity is likely to continue increasing over the next few months as we head into the spring selling season, with activity likely to peak over October and November. In good news for sellers, conditions and home prices have picked up compared to the second half of 2022.

“Home prices nationally posted the seventh consecutive month of growth in July and have recovered 2.8% since December. That means home prices nationally are now sitting just 1.4% below the March 2022 peak. The Reserve Bank held the cash rate at 4.1% for the second consecutive month in July, and a stabilisation in interest rates looks to be within sight.

“Inflation appears to be heading back towards target at a pace consistent with what the RBA was expecting. As a result, markets are factoring in only a modest chance of further increases in interest rates. Further out, the fundamentals of housing demand remain strong. Unemployment remains extremely low by historic standards and has shown little sign of moving higher.

“Rental markets are extremely tight across much of the country amid strong demand and limited rental availability. International migration has also resumed, which will further add to housing demand.”

The total number of properties listed for sale across Australia was largely unchanged in July, increasing a modest 0.4% month-on-month.

Choice for buyers nationally remained marginally tighter than a year ago, with the total number of properties listed for sale down 1.3% year-on-year.

Buyers across the capital cities are facing starkly different conditions. The total number of properties available for sale is above decade-average in Melbourne and Canberra, and only slightly below in Sydney.

In contrast, the total number of properties listed for sale is close to 40% below the prior decade average in Adelaide and Brisbane, and at a record low in Perth, giving buyers few options.