Melbourne auction market takes a rest

Melbourne recorded its lowest clearance of the year on Saturday, but nonetheless provided a reasonable result on a day that almost broke the record for summer auction activity.

The city reported a weekend clearance rate of 65 per cent, which was below the previous weekend’s 66.2 per cent and also below the 70.1 per cent recorded over the same weekend last year.

Melbourne has now recorded clearance rates below 70 per cent on six consecutive weekends for the first time since the winter of 2013.tram train melbourne commute

Although the housing market has tracked backwards over spring, record auction listings have been a significant contributing factor to easing clearance rates.

Despite a relatively soft spring, the Melbourne auction market remains the strongest of all the capitals and is now well ahead of Sydney, which reported a clearance rate of 57.5 at the weekend.

High auction numbers continue to challenge the Melbourne market, with Saturday’s offering of 1445 down on last weekend’s all-time Saturday record of 1662 auctions, but just below the summer weekend record of 1456 set on the same Saturday last weekend.

Melbourne’s auction market continues to record remarkably consistent results between suburban regions and price ranges

However, the eastern suburbs continue to track at the bottom of regional results.

The north east recorded the highest clearance rate at the weekend with 70.4 per cent, followed by the west 66.9 per cent, the south east 66 per cent, the north 65.9 per cent, the inner city 65.6 per cent, the inner south 64.5 per cent, the inner east 63.1 per cent and the outer east 61.3 per cent.

Melbourne’s trend weekend auction price increased again to $771,250 at the weekend, from the previous weekend’s $768,438.

The weekend trend price remains 3.3 per cent higher than the $746,972 recorded over the same weekend last year.

The inner city recorded the highest median house auction price on Saturday at $1,230,000, followed by the inner east $1,170,000, the inner south $992,500, the outer east $880,000, the north east $740,000, the west $721,000, the south east $646,000 and the north $630,000.

Although clearance rates have typically eased over spring, buyers and sellers can remain quietly confident about their prospects for the rest of the season.

Record numbers of auctions have contributed to lower clearance rates and the market will continue to be challenged over the final two weekends of the year, with more listing records set to broken for the month of December.

Higher interest rates over recent months have not helped the Melbourne property market and have contributed to the easing of market activity since the strong results recorded over autumn.

The Reserve Bank has decided to leave official rates on hold until it meets again next February, although more hikes in mortgage rates from banks remain a possibility over coming months.

Nevertheless, the Melbourne market can be pleased with its resilient performance this year and now takes the lead from Sydney as the nation’s strongest capital city market.

It is a position it is likely to keep – at least for a while.

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Andrew Wilson


Dr Andrew Wilson is Australia’s leading housing market expert. As senior economist for Fairfax-owned Domain Group, Dr Wilson is one of the nation’s most respected real estate analysts and Australia’s highest profile housing market commentator. Visit his blog at Domain

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