Almost half the nation's real estate auctions were withdrawn over the weekend as strict new inspection measures weighed on the market.
The federal government's social-distancing rules for the coronavirus pandemic have meant a ban on auction gatherings and open homes, forcing agents online and into one-on-one viewings.
About 3000 auctions were scheduled on Saturday, the majority in Melbourne and Sydney.
Of those, 40 per cent were pulled from the market, with the withdrawal rate skyrocketing from just 7.5 per cent the previous week.
The preliminary clearance rate dropped to 51.4 per cent, the lowest level since June 2019.
"The surge in withdrawn auctions was anticipated, considering the rising level of uncertainty from both buyers and sellers, coupled with the shift towards remote auctions which may take some time for the market to adjust to," property data group CoreLogic said.
"Considering the rapid transition to online auction formats, some agents reported technical challenges and connectivity issues; no doubt many of these challenges will be resolved with the benefit of more time to prepare."
The number of properties sold prior to auction surged from 22 per cent to 36 per cent, with sellers motivated to get ahead of potential further restrictions.
While clearance rate figures took an expected hit, interest and sales remained steady, Real Estate Institute of Australia president Adrian Kelly said.
"People are still transacting property and whilst sales will slow down we've still got pretty good consumer sentiment," Mr Kelly said.
At Cronulla in Sydney's southern suburbs, McGrath agent David Greig held two "digital auctions" which had originally been planned for on site.
"It's the first time I had used the platform but it went quite well," he said.
One of the homes, a four-bedroom residence, attracted five registered parties and sold to a solo bidder, with the auctioneer on site to liaise with the sellers and offers made through an online portal.
The second property was passed in after about four bids.
Just down the road, Cronulla Real Estate agent Corey Bell was also due to hold a digital auction on Saturday, until the one-bedroom apartment sold on Friday night.
"The market is still performing quite well," Mr Bell said.
"The stock market has gone to s*** and whenever that happens real estate performs well, plus we have interest rates at a record low."
Australian Associated Press