Melbourne fades, Sydney clearances fall

The Melbourne weekend auction market recorded another moderate result on Saturday, with growing indications of weakening buyer activity.

The weekend result of 72.1 per cent was just above last weekend’s 71.6 per cent, the lowest clearance rate recorded for Melbourne since the first weekend in July.

The high number of auctions impacted activity as sellers surge into the late spring market before the end-of-year shutdown.

This weekend 1,153 properties were listed to go under the hammer, well up on the previous weekend’s 977 and ahead of the 1,068 auctions conducted over the same weekend last year. Record numbers of auctions will continue to test the Melbourne market right through to Christmas.

Following the Melbourne Cup long weekend, the market resumed with lower clearance rates over the past two weekends. The four-weekend average clearance rate stands at 73.9 per cent, well down on the previous four-weekend average of 77.9 per cent. Trend auction activity is clearly declining.

Melbourne’s inner east auction market remains strong, recording the highest clearance rate of 80.4 per cent from the largest number of sales at 111. Next was the north east with 76.7 per cent, followed by the outer east at 76.3 per cent, the inner south at 73.8 per cent and the west with 70.2 per cent.

Notable inner east sales included a four-bedroom home at 19 Bourne Road, Glen Iris, sold by Marshall White for $2,800,000; a three-bedroom at 1a John Street, Kew by Jellis Craig for $2,700,000; a five-bedroom at 30-34 Aquila Street, Balwyn North, for $2,550,000 by Fletchers and a four-bedroom at 35 Range Street, Camberwell, sold by Marshall White for $2,545,000.

A five-bedroom house at 6 Dickens Street, Elwood, sold by Abercrombie’s Real Estate, fetched the highest price at auction at $6,550,000, while the most affordable was a one-bedroom unit at 9/1 Acland Street, St Kilda, sold by MAP Real Estate for $217,000.

The latest ABS data reflects moderating buyer activity in Melbourne. September quarter established house prices increased by just 1.1 per cent, the lowest rate of growth recorded in the series since the March quarter last year. Melbourne established house prices have increased by only 3.6 per cent this year. Recent reports of booming house prices in Melbourne certainly appear to be misguided, based on the ABS data.

Other ABS data points to weakening housing market activity in Melbourne. ABS owner-occupied seasonally adjusted home loans approved in Victoria over September were down by 3 per cent over the month – the worst performance of all the states.

The Sydney weekend auction market continues to show signs of weakening, recording its second consecutive weekend clearance rate below 80 per cent for the first time this spring.

This weekend’s result of 74.4 per cent follows last weekend’s 75.5 per cent rate, and is the lowest weekend clearance rate recorded by Sydney since the first weekend in July.

Record numbers of auctions are impacting results, with buyers increasingly spoilt for choice as sellers flood the market before the end of the year shutdown.

November will see the highest number of auctions ever conducted in Sydney over a single month, with November 29th shaping up to be an all-time record for auctions.

The weekend saw 875 auctions listed, which was lower than the 943 conducted last weekend but well ahead of the 767 auction listings over the same weekend last year.

The four-weekend average clearance rate now stands at 77.8 per cent, well down on the 81.3 per cent average recorded over the previous four-weekend period.

Sydney’s city and east suburban bounced back at the weekend, with the leading clearance rate 82.3 per cent -  the only region to report a clearance rate above 80 per cent. This, conversely, follows last weekend’s regional low result by the city and east. Next best region was Canterbury-Bankstown with 79.4 per cent, followed by the lower north shore at 78.5 per cent. The inner west recorded the most sales at 86 with a clearance rate of 78.2 per cent, the upper north shore 77.3 per cent and northern beaches 72.1 per cent.

Standout auction results in the west at the weekend included a five-bedroom home at 10 Torrington Road, Maroubra, sold by Black Lifestyle Property for $3,250,000, a four-bedroom at 5 Edgecliffe Avenue, South Coogee, sold for $2,610,000 also by Black Lifestyle Property, another four-bedroom home at 57 Clifton Road, Clovelly, sold by Belle Property Bondi for $2,360,000, and a three-bedroom unit at 3/52 Marine Parade, Maroubra, sold for $2,150,000 by Coastline Agency.

The most expensive property reported sold at auction was a seven-bedroom at 20 Agnes Street, Strathfield, sold by Richard Matthews Real Estate for $3,450,000, while the most affordable property reported sold was a two-bedroom villa at 4/52 Julius Road, Rosemeadow, sold by Richardson and Wrench Campbelltown for $273,000.

The strength of the local housing market was confirmed this week by the ABS, which reported that established house prices increased by 3.2 per cent - clearly the best of all the capitals and well head of the next best mainland capital, Melbourne, at 1.1 per cent.

Sydney’s median established house price increased by 15.4 per cent over the year ending September – more than double the Melbourne result of 7.5 per cent.

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