The prospect of nearby tunnel drilling did not deter the buyer of a renovated Collingwood worker's cottage on Saturday.
A buyer paid $1.04 million after auction for the four-bedroom cottage at 15 Forest Street, just 100 metres from the Eastern Freeway exit along Alexandra Parade and the site of the proposed east-west link tunnel.
It was a good price at any time for a house so close to the freeway, let alone one that is a street away from a proposed new on-ramp.
Dozens of locals turned out in cold drizzle for the auction, conducted by Nelson Alexander agent Arch Staver, but no bids were made and it was passed in. The four-bedroom single-fronted house was sold after negotiations.
It had undergone a good quality renovation and extension 13 years ago and still looked fresh.
Mr Staver said the presence of a television camera may have put off the potential buyers present, rather than the proposed tunnel.
"Given the information out there, it wasn't too risky a move. It's entirely too vague for anyone to make any decision yet," he said.
"I worked in Richmond when the CityLink tunnels were built. Everyone said there would be terrible cracking and subsidence but it never happened and that area of Cremorne has improved, partly because the traffic has come off the roads," he said.
The auction clearance rate held steady at 70 per cent at the weekend from 426 results reported to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria. Although short of last weekend's 73 per cent clearance, it is right on trend for the year.
It bears a healthy contrast to the same weekend last year, when the clearance rate was 59 per cent.
While 250 properties were sold at or just after auction, a further 49 were sold before auction and 127 were passed in, 65 on a vendor bid. A further six results have yet to be reported.
The improvement in auction clearance rates is now reflected in modest improvements in median house prices. REIV research indicates house prices rose 2.4 per cent (on a seasonally adjusted basis) for the June quarter to $562,000.
However, an eyebrow-raising 8.4 per cent increase in the median house price was recorded for the past 12 months.
That strength has not been felt across the board. East Hawthorn, Glen Iris, East Malvern and Kew recorded median price growth rates of more than 20 per cent but other suburbs are still flat.
In Mitcham, near the edge of the middle-ring suburbs, median house prices increased by 0.5 per cent for the quarter to $578,000 but fell 2 per cent for the 12 months. Known for its modest postwar houses on big blocks, Mitcham is attracting a new wave of young families and $1 million-plus prices for some renovated and extended properties.
Agency Noel Jones has just opened an office in the area and sold a five-bedroom house at 1 Thomas Street at the weekend for $1.23 million. Noel Jones agent Matthew Scafidi said there were four bidders at the auction.
"It opened strongly at $1 million but passed in at $1.175 million," Mr Scafidi said. It was sold after negotiations for just under its reserve of $1.25 million.