Big sales weekend signals confidence

Buyer confidence in Melbourne's property market, apparently unshaken by the political instability in Canberra, resulted in another strong weekend of property sales.

Buyer confidence in Melbourne's property market, apparently unshaken by the political instability in Canberra, resulted in another strong weekend of property sales.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria recorded a clearance rate of 68 per cent from 1106 auctions, one of the biggest weekends in more than two years.

Several big results were achieved under the hammer at the big end of town, while there were strong clearance rates out in the suburbs.

There appear to be several factors stoking the market, including a prevailing view that the market and low prices had probably bottomed. But stable interest rates, a set election date, low unemployment numbers and the strong sharemarket are contributing.

While people were spooked by European economic turmoil last year, they are now impatient to get on with their own business.

Not every property got a bid, obviously. RT Edgar passed in a renovated 1880s plaster factory at 29 Thomas Street in Windsor on a vendor bid of $2.5 million. It was for sale by expressions of interest last year at around $3.5 million and has a reserve of $3.15 million.

Of the 353 properties that passed in, 223 did so on a vendor bid and a further 91 results are yet to be reported.

Some of the worst performers were at the top end: only six of the 14 auctions in Toorak sold; and 13 of the 24 recorded in Brighton. Canterbury also polled a weak two out of eight.

In the middle-ring suburbs, all seven properties scheduled for auction in Glen Waverley sold, six out of eight in Mount Waverley and in Reservoir 10 of the 13 that went under the hammer sold.

Thornbury - where nine of 12 sold and another two before auction - and Surrey Hills (five from five) maintained their strong 90 per cent-plus clearance rates.

Voluble buyer's advocate David Morrell failed to get a word in at yesterday's auction of 13 Findon Avenue, North Caulfield which fetched $3.4 million, $500,000 more than its $2.9 million reserve.

The double-storey house had a luxurious modern rear renovation and sea views on a 928 square metre site.

"There's some illogical things happening out there. There were multiple bidders to $3 million where it should have sold but then two people pushed it to this level," he said.

"If you look at 6 Hepburn Street in Hawthorn, there were six bidders, the reserve was $4.3 and it sold for $4.41 - that's sensible. The house at 30 Walmer Street in Kew which sold for $5.1 million is on 2648 square metres - that makes logical sense."

"The established market is commercially minded. They do not make millions of dollars making a rash decision. There's a lot of money out there."

Gary Peer, whose agency handled the North Caulfield auction said Findon Avenue was the best street in the area and the vendor was also the builder.

"There's a real shortage of stock of this quality on the market. We were confident of interest but not confident of getting half-a-million dollars over the reserve. There were lots of happy but perplexed neighbours," Mr Peer said.

His agency sold 11 out of 13 properties this weekend. "That's a real sign of an improving market. It's definitely turned - not from black to white - but more people are prepared to jump in," Mr Peer said.

*Last week, we reported that 10 Blairgowrie Court in Brighton sold for around $6 million. The vendor, Havilah Resources executive director Peter Reeve said his house sold for close to $7 million.

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