Upsizing families boost sales

Families looking for bigger properties have helped bump up the auction clearance rate to its highest level since August 2010.

Families looking for bigger properties have helped bump up the auction clearance rate to its highest level since August 2010.

The clearance rate hit 76 per cent from 354 results reported to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria at the weekend. While 207 properties were sold at auction, 59 were snapped up before their scheduled auction and a further 86 passed in, 46 of them on a vendor's bid.

Agents reported that investors and families were the most active, with first home buyers bowing out after the end of the state government first home buyer's grant.

Marty Rankin, director of a new agency in the inner west, Village Real Estate, said: "The family market is really driving prices at the moment.

"There's actually a lot of money in the inner-west and there's a strong preference for more space - sometimes that's more land and sometimes it's more house.

"I've got buyers who could spend $2 million but I have got nothing to sell," he said.

But the families missed out on one of the bigger properties he sold at the weekend. A couple of wine buffs with a dog paid $1.24 million for a new house at 4 Finlay Street, Yarraville, edging out two other local bidders.

Mr Rankin said he had believed the $1.125 million reserve a little too high, especially as one of the underbidders had made two prior offers of $950,000 and $1 million.

However, strong bidding by all the parties pitched the final price $115,000 higher.

Earlier in the day, on the other side of Williamstown Road, Mr Rankin also sold a renovated weatherboard house at 88 Hamilton Street in Yarraville for $1.05 million.

He had believed that reserve was also on the high side, at $980,000, but three buyers, one from South Melbourne, drove it slightly higher.

Buyer's advocate Frank Valentic said: "The family home market is booming. It's a good time to upsize because prices came back 10 to 15 per cent in that segment and in the changeover from the low end of the market where they are selling, they can make up to $100,000," Mr Valentic said.

Hocking Stuart director Greg Hocking auctioned a duplex at 305 The Boulevard in Port Melbourne that was being sold by the Department of Human Services.

The small two-bedroom property fetched $1.326 million, topping its $1.2 million reserve by $126,000. "The department is pretty spot on with their pricing. They want them to sell but they want to get the best return they can," Mr Hocking said.

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