House auction on a pre-Christmas high

Auction volumes are still at peak levels just weeks out from Christmas. Agents across the country have a full workload at a time when activity generally slows.

Clearance rates have wobbled after a stellar spring performance, but Sydney has again shown itself to be the best-performing city for the week.

Nationally, there were 3170 auctions across the capital cities in the week ending December 8. The clearance rate was 65.1 per cent, down on the 66.9 per cent from 3472 auctions the previous week.

Melbourne buyers’ agent Paul Osborne of Secret Agent said the weeks of consistently high volumes would be a market litmus test.

“What happens now will be a good indicator of what we can expect in 2014,” he said.

Melbourne’s clearance rate was 64.1 per cent from 1530 auctions, according to preliminary figures from RP Data, compared with 67.9 per cent a week earlier.

Sydney auctions continue to bring out competitive bidders eager to secure a home before Christmas.

There were 1112 auctions across Sydney and the clearance rate was 75.6 per cent, a rise on the previous week, when the clearance rate was 72.7 per cent from 1402 auctions.

A two-bedroom Kirribilli apartment, once owned by television icon Graham Kennedy, sold for $125,000 above the reserve. Belle Property agents Mark Jackson and Belinda Willetts showed 123 groups through the home and registered eight bidders for the auction, three competed. It sold to a Strathfield family for $1.8 million.

Sydney’s top results was a four-bedroom home on The Promenade, Sans Souci, which sold for $3 million. The waterfront home was listed with Raine & Horne agent Ray Fadel.

A one-bedroom apartment in Glebe sold for $685,000 after a pre-auction offer was knocked back. The home was only marketed for two-and-a-half weeks.

Richardson & Wrench principal Nick Countouris said he was certain there was enough interest in the property to push the sale price above the $630,000 reserve, so advised the vendors to go ahead with the auction.

“It was an extremely good result and [shows] the high demand for quality real estate in the inner-city,” he said.

“Usually as Christmas draws nearer buyer attention begins to drift away but this year is not like others,”

Homes above $3 million can struggle at auction, but a Canterbury home sold comfortably under the hammer for $5.76 million and was the highest result for Melbourne.

The four-bedroom home, listed with Jellis Craig agents Peter Vigano and Sally Morrison, was on a huge 3276 square metre block, attracting ­developers.

In Brisbane, 237 homes were auctioned. Top sales included a three-bedroom home on Eagle Street, in inner-city Paddington, which sold for $1.85 million.

Brisbane agent Damon Warat of Ray White said buyers had become more cautious and were heavily researching ahead of a purchase.

For this reason, Mr Warat said he was advising more vendors to sell at auction.

“Information like that becomes less valuable at auction, because there’s a direct correlation between the number of buyers and higher prices. We need that competition on the day.”

In Perth, which has a much smaller auction market, 77 auctions were held.

A lack of foreign buyers had helped prices in the West Australian capital reach a rare point of stability, Shellabears Real Estate agent Chris Shellabear said.

“We’ve got a market where buyers and sellers are pretty much on a level playing field on properties up to $2 million,” he said.

There has been substantial price growth on the market’s lower rungs as entry level and second homes under $800,000 receive the most interest and show the most price movement.