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'SUPER SATURDAY' AUCTIONS IN SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE SEE STRONG CLEARANCE RATES

Monday 28 Nov 2016 - by AFR

Five hundred more auctions across Sydney and Melbourne on Super Saturday weekend compared to a week ago did nothing to cool auction clearance rates in either city.

Sydney had a preliminary auction clearance rate of 81.9 per cent – higher than last weekend's 79.6 per cent – while Melbourne had a 76.9 per cent rate, which was slightly down from last weekend's 79.4 per cent rate, according to Corelogic.

Domain Group's results were similar – 79 per cent for Sydney and 78 per cent for Melbourne. 

Despite recording the second-highest number of reported auctions this year for the combined capital cities, every capital city reported a higher clearance rate when compared to the same period a year ago, according to Corelogic.

This time last year, there were 1306 auctions in Sydney compared to 1236 on the weekend. Melbourne saw 1618 auctions on the weekend, compared to 1876 auctions last year.

The combination of lower-than-average stock levels and persistent demand rising from a low-interest-rate environment has boosted property markets. 

"This defies logic. We can't go on at this rate," Melbourne buyer's agent David Morrell said. 

"We need something of an event to change people's mantra. If APRA does not step in we will be heading towards Europe, where all the houses are owned by rich people. The government needs to have a good, hard look at this."

Mr Morrell's clients were so desperate to buy in Melbourne because they could not wait till "the next round of sales in March" when the market gets going. Even beach properties in Melbourne are being bid up, he added. 

In Sydney, 300 people – a record for the city – inspected an unrenovated but larger-than-average apartment in a 50-year-old block at 5/26 Crows Nest Road, Waverton, on Sydney's lower north shore.

The blockbuster auction closed with a sale price $250,000 over reserve, much to Belle Neutral Bay's Tom Scarpignato and Georgina Oliver's surprise. 

"The opening price was $1.04 million, and the reserve was $1 million," Ms Oliver said. "At our first open house, we had 79 parties ... I ran out of brochures."

A total of 19 bidders registered to buy the 133-square-metre two-bedroom deceased estate on Saturday. 

Bids of $10,000 were exchanged but the eventual buyer was so keen on buying it, at the $1.26 mark, that she offered $70,000 and knocked the other buyers out of the auction – a move that drew gasps from the 120-person crowd. 

The woman and her partner bought the apartment with a lock-up garage close to Waverton station to live in.  

It was a similar situation on the opposite side of Sydney, in Maroubra and Botany in the south and east. 

Six registered bidders pushed up the final price of the one-bedroom unit at 8/15 Green Street in Maroubra beyond reserve to $727,000. A three-bedroom townhouse at 10/1 Ivy Street in Botany sold for $1.165 million. Its reserve price was $1.05 million. McGrath's Marnie Seinor marketed both properties. 

Two families exchanged a five-bedroom home at 3 High Street, Concord in the inner west of Sydney, right on reserve at $3.1 million for Raine & Horne's Dib Chidiac and Alex Pattaro.

Auctioneer James Pratt said there was "a lot of action" at the weekend's auctions, but there were faint signs of fatigue at some properties. 

"The year and motivation from some buyers has passed already for some buyers, this was represented by high numbers registering at each auction however only two to three committed buyers seemed to be engaged," he said. 

This was seen at the two-bedroom apartment at 5/15 Premier Street in Neutral Bay, in the lower north shore of Sydney, where there were no bids. But McGrath's Nicole Grady-Combes was confident it would be sold soon.

Across Sydney and Melbourne, about two-thirds of homes listed for auctions were sold prior, evidence that keen buyers were grabbing at measly offerings. 

Next week's price round-up for November is at this stage anticipated to show a small 1 per cent price rise for Melbourne houses and a flatter 0.6 per cent price rise for Sydney, according to Corelogic.

In the Sydney prestige market, former Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch head of fixed income Neale Muston has sold his four-bedroom home at 17 Morella Road, Mosman in Sydney's lower north shore for $14.5 million to a Chinese-origin buyer with residency through McGrath's Michael Coombs and John Melville.

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