Auction clearance rates hold as Victoria spends more on affordable housing

Australia’s property market has continued its solid start to the year, with auction results in the key markets of Sydney and Melbourne remaining robust.

 

Sydney’s clearance rates reached 66%, compared with 51% at the same time last year. There were 251 properties on the market of which 183 sold at a total value of $129 million.

Melbourne posted a 73% clearance rate with 407 properties at auction selling. Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief Enzo Raimondo called the result a “solid outcome” compared to last year.

“The number of homes on offer at auction remains well below where it was this time last year, and does not how any sign of increasing in the next month,” he says.

“In contrast, the private sale market is showing signs of strength, which is no surprise it was the affordable segment of the market.”

Adelaide posted a 57% clearance rate, dropping back from last week’s 86%. Brisbane was the weakest market, dropping from last weekend’s 53% to just 32%, with total sales reaching only $4.7 million.

The positive results come as the Victorian Government says it will spend $1.3 billion as the start of a major building program to help provide affordable housing for new home owners.

Housing Minister Richard Wynne says the program will us federal money to purchase apartments and housing and land packages from developers that had either received or were in the final processes of planning approval.

“We are looking for developers, builders and the not-for-profit housing sector to come forward with suitable projects that have planning approval or are in the final stages of approval for the first stage of this major building program,” Wynne says.

Wynne says the Government will favour housing projects closer to public transport and employment opportunities, and the developments will be available by 2011.

The property market was also assisted by the surge in first home purchases, with sales of new homes jumping 8% in January according to the Housing Industry Association.

The jump in sales negates the 1.1% fall in December, as the HIA says new home owners have enthusiastically responded to the Federal Government’s increased first home owners’ grant.

“A better start to 2009 for new home sales is an encouraging result,” HIA chief economist Harley Dale said. “But a sustained recovery in new home construction will rely on trade-up buyers and investors returning to the market, and the timely procurement of the planned 20,000 new public and community housing dwellings.

“The unlocking of many of the private dwelling projects caught up in the credit crunch will go a long way to ensuring a broad-based private sector housing recovery.”

 

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