Increased stock volumes have put the brakes on auction clearance rates over the past few weekends.
More than 1100 properties went to auction at the weekend and the high volumes are set to continue until Christmas, with 1160 auctions scheduled next weekend and a record 1500 the following weekend.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria posted a clearance rate of 71 per cent from 1048 auction reported results; RP Data made 70 per cent from 829 auctions and Australian Property Monitors recorded 73 per cent from 759 auctions. According to the REIV data, 308 properties passed in - 167 of them on a vendor's bid - and 140 properties sold before auction, as vendors traded an early price for the public competition.
The results of 150 auctions remain outstanding, which could bring down the overall clearance rate.
Last weekend's 72 per cent was scaled back to 68 per cent after all the results were counted and this weekend's figure could go the same way.
While the healthy result is far better than the equivalent 59 per cent figure on the same weekend last year, it indicates Melbourne is not in a runaway market - even if it is difficult for first home buyers to establish a foothold. REIV chief Enzo Raimondo said the sub-70 per cent clearance rate shows the market is still in a recovery phase.
"While the past few months have been strong, we are certainly not in a boom," he said. "It's also a reminder to both vendors and buyers that they need to remain realistic about prices at auction to achieve a sale."
But some properties - and not necessarily the houses built on the land - do attract multiple bidders with deep pockets.
A faded four-bedroom house at 6 Verdant Avenue in Toorak, on 836 square metres near the Village shopping strip and Royal South Yarra Lawn Tennis Club, fetched nearly $1 million over its $3.5 million reserve price to sell under the hammer for $4.445 million.
Williams Batters auctioneer Philippe Batters declined to comment on the result as both vendor and buyer insisted it remain undisclosed.
But four buyers vied for the property which has two street frontages that could easily accommodate two new houses if the old one and its pool are demolished.
Women dominated bidding in the CBD, attracted by lock-up apartments with low maintenance. Five women competed for a first storey one-bedroom flat at 4A/237 Flinders Lane, which fetched $460,000 under the hammer through Caine Real Estate.
Auctioneer Paul Caine said three women also vied for a two-bedroom apartment in the old Port Authority building at 601/29 Market Street, pushing it past its $620,000 reserve price to sell for $760,000 to a person who already lived in the building. "These are quality buildings. You don't get lots of young party people," he said.