In Sydney there were 321 homes listed for auction, with a preliminary clearance rate of 59.2 per cent. In Brisbane, that figure was 42.6 per cent from 91 listings. In Adelaide, 52.5 per cent of 76 homes listed have changed hands on preliminary numbers, and in Perth 42.9 per cent were sold from 36 listings.
“We need to be careful about reading too much into the fact that the numbers are higher than where they were in December,” said SQM Research’s Louis Christopher.
“That was to be expected. There are more buyers seasonally in late summer and autumn and there are more sellers in spring and early summer. You tend to see a little bit of a lift in the auction clearance rate.
“Beware the apparent bounce. Auction clearances rates are lower than they were this time last year and the market was having a downturn this time last year.
“If we were to record auction clearance rates above 60 per cent I would be a little bit more positive. I can’t stress enough to be cautious into reading into this current lift “
While the RBA’s position – indicatingthe probabilities are now more evenly balancedbetween an interest rate hike and a cut – could add some support to investor confidence, Mr Christopher said the main issue was access to credit, not its cost..
“I still think the overriding issue is the banks are making it very difficult for many would-be borrowers to make a successful loan application.”
CoreLogic’s Kevin Brogan was more sanguine about the latest auction results while also noting they are still well down on where they were at last year.
“The signs that are coming through with these results is that there is some sort of resilience there. It hasn’t been as weak a performance as we saw at then end of the final quarter of 2018.”
In Sydney, a villa unit in Lane Cove, 1/45 Little Street, sold under the hammer for $1.205 million. Six bidders helped push it from a starting bid of $950,000 to just past the reserve of $1.2 million.
At the rear of a six-unit complex, the freestanding villa has two bedrooms, two bathrooms and spaces for two cars.
“It took a long time to get where we needed to be, the buyers seemed cautious but we slowly edged our way there,” said Patrick Lang of Belle Property Lane Cove, who handled the property with colleague Jesse Goodman.
Listed properties are now averaging more than 15 groups per open home, more than at any time last year, according to Mr Lang.
“Sellers realise they might not be achieving the astronomical prices we saw during the boom and they are adjusting their reserves accordingly. Buyers see that properties they once thought were out of reach are now far more attainable.”
In Melbourne buyers’ agent Emma Bloom, of Morrell and Koren, said it was a slow start for the year with further uncertainty ahead due to the federal election.
“There is plenty of old stock that has had ‘price revisions’ and a lot of agent swapping. Things were pitched at the wrong level last year, so there are big price adjustments.”