High auction numbers to test Melbourne, Sydney markets

Auction numbers continue to hover near record highs, with the almost 2,000 properties to go under the hammer in Melbourne and Sydney this weekend set to test the voracity of each market.

In Melbourne, Saturday will see more properties – 1,127 – up for sale by auction than the combined total for the first three weekends of February, according to Dr Andrew Wilson, senior economist at Australian Property Monitors (APM).

“Year-on-year comparisons are instructive, with this weekend’s auctions 21.6 per cent higher or 200 greater than the 927 listed a year ago over the same weekend,” Dr Wilson said.

“February’s auction listing count stands at 2,185, which is the third highest total for that month on record and just behind the totals of 2010 and 2011.”

Dr Wilson identified Melbourne’s inner city as the auction hotspot for this Saturday, with 217 scheduled.

“Next highest is the inner south with 209, followed by the west with 176, the inner east with 170 and the north east with 126 auctions listed,” he said.

The Victorian capital’s auction clearance rates also remain buoyant.

“Weekend auction clearance rates have held up well over February and are averaging close to the levels recorded over the spring selling season of 2013,” he said.

“Last weekend, metro Melbourne recorded another solid clearance rate of 74 per cent. Auction clearance rates have been remarkably consistent over February, with last weekend’s result following the 75.6 per cent and 73.3 per cent reported over the previous two weekends.

“Last weekend’s result was again well ahead of the 64.4 per cent recorded over the same weekend last year.”

In Sydney, Dr Wilson said the “extraordinary number” of 775 auctions is scheduled for Saturday – 300 more than the previous weekend, and well up on the 513 properties auctioned over the same weekend a year ago.

“Sydney’s February auction listing count stands at 1,631, which is the third highest total for that month on record and just behind the totals of 2011 and 2008,” he said.

“The inner west is again the most popular region for auctions this weekend in Sydney with 131, closely followed by the city and east with 126, the lower north with 94, the south with 93 and the upper north shore with 89 auctions scheduled.”

Dr Wilson said the high number of listings will test both cities’ property markets.

Victoria is also grappling with an unemployment rate of 6.4 per cent, its highest monthly result in 12 years. “The high jobless number [in Victoria] unfortunately is likely to continue to rise,” he said.

In NSW, he said the most recent data reported some encouraging news with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January steady at 5.8 per cent. “Although still well ahead of the 5.1 per cent recorded a year ago over January, 8,450 new jobs were nonetheless created over the month,” he said.

“Expect strong underlying buyer demand [in Sydney], however, to continue to drive high auction clearance rates over the coming weekends despite an avalanche of listings.”

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