Clearance rate holds despite record supply

Melbourne's property market held its ground over the weekend as a record 1494 properties went under the hammer.

Melbourne's property market held its ground over the weekend as a record 1494 properties went under the hammer.

The huge weight of stock on offer was widely expected to pull down the auction clearance rate for a second weekend running but the success rate seems robust - although more than 200 results are yet to be counted.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria recorded a 70 per cent clearance rate from 1251 reported results. RP Data came in slightly lower with 69.2 per cent from 1385 results and Australian Property Monitors produced a more bullish 75 per cent from only 747 auction results.

The details behind the REIV data show 164 properties sold before the scheduled weekend's auctions, 371 passed in - 203 on a vendor's bid - and a further 243 results have not yet been reported.

The flow of late results can sometimes affect the final clearance rate. Last weekend's weaker 66 per cent result fell to 65 per cent after 139 missing results were reported. On this weekend last year, the clearance rate was 61 per cent from 900 auctions.

RP Data spokesman Robert Larocca said this was the fourth weekend in a row that it had reported a clearance rate under 70 per cent but stressed the lower figure followed record levels of supply.

"Before this weekend, the spring clearance rate was 71 per cent, which was higher than every year since 2008 - except for the 80 per cent recorded in 2009," Mr Larocca said. "That year did, however, have much lower levels of supply."

The biggest sale for the weekend, at 25 Beach Street in Port Melbourne, fetched $5.175 million. It passed in at auction despite four parties bidding at the Marshall White auction.

But some properties tore away. Nelson Alexander agent Jonathan West sold 46 Murray Street in West Brunswick for $1.355 million despite a quoted range of $780,000-$850,000. The five-bedroom house is on a 733-square-metre block of land.

Mr West did not return calls from BusinessDay, so its reserve price remains unknown.

Three developers fought for a large property in Greensborough at 3 Marino Way, which sold for $1.58 million - just over its $1.55 million reserve price.

The six-bedroom house was on 4215 square metres of land near the Greensborough Highway and included a long palm-tree lined driveway. It was the homestead belonging to a large farm in the area that was subdivided in 1990.

Barry Plant agent David Moxon said a fourth party, a woman who planned to renovate the property, did not bid on the day.

The market north-east of the city was "fairly consistent", Mr Moxon said.

"We've seen a big increase in stock levels since October and buyers have got more choice now. They're not panicking and realise they have choice. If they miss out, prices are not going crazy on them."

But some buyers continue to surprise. Jellis Craig director Alastair Craig said two of the bidders at the auction of 31 Fellows Street in Kew on Saturday turned up on the day with no plans to buy a house.

"They pushed up the price from $2.8 million to $2.88 million," Mr Craig said. "You just never know with auctions. It really gives vendors the opportunity to find bidders they wouldn't otherwise get."

They do not always put up their hands, however. Two double-fronted timber Victorian villas at 28-30 Auburn Grove in East Hawthorn, sold after auction for $2.87 million. With a combined 1287 square metres and rear laneway access, they were marketed by Noel Jones as a development site. But no developers in the 60-strong crowd put up their hands in public.

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