Homes become the must have this Christmas

Buyers determined to secure homes before Christmas are paying up, especially those unsuccessful at other auctions this spring.

Underbidder angst from those who have missed out on homes sparked some “frantic” bidding on Saturday, Melbourne buyer’s advocate Mal James said, having bid against them himself.

Mr James said “wounded” previous underbidders were a force because of their persistence. But clearance rates were down about three to four percentage points in Sydney and Melbourne, compared with the previous weekend, ­according to RP Data.

In those two major auction markets, the number of properties available for sale has increased throughout November and is up 3.8 per cent in Victoria and 0.5 per cent in NSW, seasonally adjusted.

While buyer demand has been strong this spring, competition for homes may be weakening as that demand is met by the new listings this month and successful buyers drop out of the market.

The highest-selling properties for both cities received winning bids of $6 million and higher amid agent reports of huge crowds, multiple bidders and sales well above reserve.

Mr James said his group bid on a Malvern East home with a $1.65 million reserve, battling another bidder who was “not going to go home without the bacon”.

“We dropped out at $1.9 million and let him take it at $1.92 million,” he said. “There is definitely a sense out there that buyers are getting anxious about missing out on buying something before Christmas.”

Melbourne’s highest reported price was a Box Hill property that sold for $6 million.

There were two homes on the 1493-square-metre property, which is in the Box Hill activity centre and attracted interest from apartment developers. The property was listed with First National Real Estate agents Dennis Dellas and Eric Lin.

Sydney’s most expensive property was a Mosman home on Iluka Road listed with Belle Property agents Sally Osborne and Matthew Smythe.

The reserve was $6.2 million and it sold for $6.45 million under the hammer.

After a $5 million opening bid, the prices moved up in $100,000 and $50,000 increments from three bidders.

More than 50 groups inspected it and nine contracts were issued.

Ms Osborne said the buyers were a local Mosman family and the strong interest and selling price showed the upwards shift in the higher end of the market.

RP Data’s weighted average of auctions across the capital cities was almost 67 per cent of the 2185 results reported.

A total of 2686 auctions were held in the capital cities. At the same time last year, there were 2119 auctions in the capitals and a clearance rate of 51.3 per cent.

In the development market, Toga Group sold 130 of the 150 units launched at its Central Square project in West Ryde in Sydney. Prices started at $480,000 for the one-, two- and three-bedroom units that drew interest from investors and first-home buyers.

Legacy Property launched Greenway at Marsden Park in Sydney’s north-western fringe on Saturday.

Of the 50 house and land packages available, 80 per cent sold. CEO Matthew Hyder said more than 1500 expressions of interest were received for the master-planned community, which contains 600 to 700 lots. He said each block already had a designated home design and builder, which would save time and would mean buyers could exchange contracts in three weeks.

Mr Hyder said Legacy had faith in selling with builders and designs in place given the high demand, and that another 50 lots would be launched in February.

Listed developer Australand released 14 lots of land on Saturday near The Waterfront in Shell Cove. Twelve of the sites sold, measuring between 451 square metres to 846 square metres and priced between $350,000 and $400,000.