Spring in Australian property sales revealed at weekend auctions

Property auctions reach higher levels

Property auction clearance rates have reached their highest level for more than three months suggesting that the slow Australian real estate market is picking up.

Auctions in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide had higher clearance rates than the previous weekend, although the national market remained relatively flat compared with this time last year.

According to Australian Property Monitors, 60% of the Sydney properties that went under the hammer at the weekend were sold, up from 51% on the first weekend of the month.

Melbourne recorded a similar result, with clearance rates reaching 57%, up from 52% the previous week.

In Adelaide, clearance rates hit 53%, up 23% from the weekend before, while in Brisbane 30% of houses up for auction were sold, up from 25% cent.

The figures also show that the fastest growing median house prices are in the suburb of Bonner. Canberra, which have increased by 127%, followed by Mulambin in Queensland, up 116% and Churchlands, Western Australia, up 83%.

‘The weekend figures will give the market some confidence as it heads further into spring, which is the busiest time of year for auctions. The improvements are only slight, but many people were expecting clearance rates to drop further, so it’s a good sign,’ said Andrew Wilson, a senior economist with APM.

He pointed out that the early season spike in home sales suggested the dire predictions about the short term dangers of the real estate market may have been exaggerated and he attributed the nationwide jump in clearance rates to data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that showed the national economy was growing faster than expected.

‘It looks like interest rates could be on hold until next year, so that will encourage buyers and investors,’ said Wilson.

But the market remains well short of where it was 12 months ago. On the second weekend in September last year, auction clearance rates were 69% and 62% in Sydney and Melbourne respectively.

The most expensive home sold at auction over the weekend was a five bedroom property at MacMasters Beach, on the New South Wales central coast, which went for $2,325,000.

At the other end of the scale, a three bedroom house at Elizabeth East, in Adelaide’s north, sold for $150,000.

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