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Sizzle in Melbourne’s winter auction market with listing up 20 per cent

67 Walter Street in Seddon was one of 487 homes that went under the hammer on Saturday. Photo: SuppliedMelbourne residential property prices have punched higher this year, exceeding the predictions of forecasters.
Nanjing Night Net

And the growth spurt is helping to smooth out seasonal peaks and troughs in the market and change buyer expectations.

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While there are still market troughs in winter and summer, they are less distinct than usual.

Winter auction listings are currently running at 20 per cent higher than in 2014, according to the Domain Group.

Real estate agents say buyer inquiry rates have also remained consistently high over winter, with interest only slightly down on activity in autumn.

Andrew James, of Hocking Stuart Armadale, said vendors were becoming more relaxed about starting auction campaigns for family homes during school holiday periods.

He said other buyer groups, including downsizers and investors, didn’t worry much about seasonality.

Hocking Stuart’s listing numbers in the June/July school holidays have been significantly higher than in previous years.

“I think that goes hand in hand with being in a very strong market, but real estate generally now is operating in an 11 months-of-the-year time frame,” Mr James said.

Jellis Craig director Richard Earle agreed the market was seeing “less variation” between holiday times and non-holiday periods.

He said January was the only month when little selling occurred. However, family-home vendors in Melbourne’s inner-east also recognised that to maximise prices they needed to auction at prime times.

“The market has become more knowledgeable about having four clear Saturdays clear of horse racing, school holidays and public holidays,” Mr Earle said.

“That’s what is leading to these Super Saturdays where the prime auction dates and times are so scarce because they are being very much sought after.”

The fundamentals of Melbourne’s market remain strong. Low interest rates and a lack of supply relative to the influx of buyers are continuing to motivate upgraders, downsizers and investors.

On Saturday, the Domain group reported a clearance rate of 78 per cent from 487 auctions. There were 145 unreported results.

Several agents said auctions in Melbourne’s east on Saturday attracted an average of four bidders.

Domain Group senior economist Andrew Wilson said this winter’s higher listings reflected a seasonal market in its best shape since winter 2009.

“Clearance rates seem to be holding at about 80 per cent,” Dr Wilson said.

“I think we are in for a reasonable and traditional spring market with higher volumes and solid results for sellers.”

Next week the Domain Group will release median Melbourne house price figures for the April-June quarter. They are expected to confirm the market’s upward trajectory.

On Friday, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria said Melbourne’s market had broken the $700,000 median price ceiling for the first time.

The REIV uses different data methodology to Domain. The institute said the metro Melbourne median house price of $706,000 for the three months to 30 June was up from $671,000 in the March quarter, a quarter-on-quarter increase of more than 5 per cent.

Barry Plant director James Hatzimoisis said some vendors were dropping plans for mid-spring sales and opting instead to sell in winter or early spring.

“The market is all about stock,” he said. “If the stock is there, the buyers are happy to look.”

He said an increasing number of buyers were aware that buying when stock levels were high meant buying with more competition. Some were deciding they were better off securing a property in non-peak periods.

“You don’t get the peaks and troughs in buyer activity anymore, but the listings do tend to slow up,” Mr Hatzimoisis said.

“There is a stack of factors behind this: we are seeing more investors, first home buyers are back and you have the normal core market of people wanting to upgrade.”

Mr James said although sales in the eastern suburbs continued to be “quite affected by the school holidays,” this wasn’t the case in other areas.

“People want to get in and out of the market – if the property is there to be bought in July, they are going to buy it,” he said.

There are 712 auctions scheduled for next weekend, which is 17 per cent up on the auctions held on the same weekend in 2014. DomainThis story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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