Property trading remained buoyant last week as the country’s two largest cities posted clearance rates indicating more than three-quarters of home auctions were successful, even as lockdowns curbed the number of transactions taking place.
Victorians responded faster to their state’s snap lockdown, with the number of properties scheduled for auction dropping 15.1 per cent between Thursday and Saturday to 1017 homes, and the state posted a preliminary clearance rate of 76.4 per cent, CoreLogic figures showed.
In Sydney, where the government strengthened the three-week-old lockdown on Saturday with sweeping curbs on construction and retail, the number of properties going to auction fell 8.5 per cent over the same period, prompting a preliminary clearance rate of 77.1 per cent, based on results reported so far of 786 scheduled auctions, CoreLogic said.
It may not be that high, however. A truer picture of the clearance rates would be achieved by not reducing the number of scheduled auctions, as CoreLogic had done, but by keeping it the same, as many properties that did not go ahead with their plans were either sold prior, rescheduled or moved to private treaty sales, said Louis Christopher, the managing director of consultancy SQM Research.
“It seems clearance rates for Sydney and Melbourne are coming in around the 50 per cent mark, which is down from pre-COVID numbers, but arguably better than what they were recording this time last year,” Mr Christopher said.
“But it’s definitely down on what we were having pre-COVID.”
A four-bedroom house on 1000sq m overlooking the Georges River in southern Sydney’s Kangaroo Point sold for $6,151,000 – nearly $2 million over the $4.2 million reserve price – in an online auction with 19 registered bidders that took 50 minutes and had 274 bids placed.
“They knew they had to fight tooth and nail for it.”
The size of the home, which allowed two people to work full-time, added to demand for the property at 7 St Lukes Way, which also benefited from fewer auctions, Mr Duncan said.
“We are seeing some people put on hold their property sales,” he said. “The ones that are still there have got all the demand.”
In Melbourne’s eastern suburb of Lower Templestowe, a four-bedroom house that was called on the market at $1.08 million sold for $1.3 million. The reserve was not disclosed.
“This weekend’s auction results will be strong given the easy transition to online,” said Anthony Webb chief executive and auctioneer Philip Webb, who sold the 2 Balsam Street property.
“However, for vendors of properties listed last week who would have had their first open for inspections scheduled this weekend, it will be frustrating.
“Lockdowns are impacting on vendors’ confidence to put their properties on the market, and we are already working with little stock and high buyer demand.”
Adelaide posted the highest preliminary clearance rate, at 83.1 per cent from 100 scheduled auctions. Canberra reported 82.4 per cent of the 74 reported results of 92 scheduled auctions, while Brisbane came in at 66.7 per cent, with 160 auctions scheduled.
The longer the lockdowns last, the smaller the number of properties going to auction would become, Mr Christopher said.
“New vendors to the market will not put a specific date on their auction until they know they’re coming out of lockdown,” he said.
“I’m expecting total auction numbers to fall for both cities going forward, but that’s a different issue to saying, ‘I had initially 1000 scheduled, now I can see only 800 scheduled’.”
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