PHOTO: Domain chief executive Jason Pellegrino

Domain chief executive Jason Pellegrino has warned an acute shortage of properties for sale in Sydney and Melbourne has led to the toughest conditions for property since the early 1990s when Australia was last in recession.

The nation’s biggest real estate markets have faced a listings crunch with property owners reluctant to sell despite renewed strength in house prices and record low interest rates.

The property portal’s boss said there was “tremendous demand” as a result of these factors and the winding back of tough regulations affecting borrowing but there were still few properties up for sale constraining supply. Nine Entertainment Co, owner of this masthead, has a 59 per cent stake in Domain.

Mr Pellegrino likened the current market to the 1990s, a time when an economic downturn hit the banks and Westpac posted a $1.6 billion loss. Australia was in a formal recession until the September quarter of 1991.