Auction market concludes on a high

Sydney and Melbourne’s record-breaking auctions have come to an end for the year, with both cities recording solid results despite unprecedented pre-Christmas listings this weekend.

According to Australian Property Monitors (APM), Sydney had 304 properties listed for auction compared to just 73 on the same weekend last year.

The day finished with a clearance rate of 68.7 per cent, the lowest recorded since the Queen's Birthday weekend in June six months ago.

RP Data reported a similar result, with a preliminary auction clearance rate of 68.5 per cent across 451 auctions.

Senior economist at APM Dr Andrew Wilson said, “Sellers have continued to surge into the market in record numbers right up until to the very end of the year to take advantage of the strongest market conditions certainly since 2010 and possibly the strongest since the great boom of 2002.

“The median house price is set to rise by 12 percent in Sydney this year, with prices in the inner west, the south and the upper north shore on track to increase by up to an extraordinary 20 per cent over the year.”

Dr Wilson said clearance rates in Sydney had been trending downwards over recent weeks, with the December average of 74.3 per cent well below the November average of 81.2 per cent.

In Melbourne, APM reported there were 396 properties scheduled to go under the hammer on Saturday, compared to just 127 auctioned over the same weekend last year.

APM reported an auction clearance rate of 70 per cent, which was in line with the spring average of 73.2 per cent. Melbourne’s weekend auction clearance rates have averaged 69.7 per cent over December compared to 72.7 per cent over November and 75.1 per cent over October.

RP Data reported a preliminary auction clearance rate of 66.2 per cent across 459 auctions.

RP Data Victoria housing specialist Robert Larocca said, “The 2013 auction market has seen more people selling more homes than was the case in the past two years which, along with stable prices, is a key indicator of a healthy market.”

According to Dr Wilson, 2014 will be unlikely to reproduce the same level of buyer activity and prices growth experienced this year, particularly as there are increasingly signs that both the national and the local economies are set to deteriorate. 

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