Auctions market booms on Super Saturday, but sellers waiting on price increases

The property market has given the clearest indication activity is beginning to improve, with the “Super Saturday” weekend delivering high clearance rates in both Sydney and Melbourne with hundreds of listings in both cities.

The weekend, so-called for the traditionally large amount of listings it brings as the last selling weekend before Easter, saw more than 2,500 homes go under the hammer around the country, with Melbourne recording one of the biggest results in its history.

However, property pundits and sellers are still waiting to see the momentum translate into price growth.

The weekend saw Melbourne record a clearance rate of 68%, based on 1,106 auctions with 753 selling and 353 being passed in.

In a statement, Real Estate Institute of Victoria chief executive Enzo Raimondo said the result “demonstrates the underlying strength of the market”, with the outcomes consistent with this year’s results so far.

Right now, he said, the volume of auctions is higher than in mid-December 2010.

In Sydney, the results were similarly impressive – a clearance rate of 70.5% from 682 listed auctions, according to Australian Property Monitors.

Andrew Wilson, APM chief economist, told SmartCompany the Super Saturday sales are a great indication the rest of the year will go well – although he questions how quickly those clearance rates will transfer into higher prices for sellers.

“We’ve had a really good, strong start to the year in both Sydney and Melbourne, and we’ve had consistently high clearance rates particularly compared to last year,” he said.

“Both cities have delivered this weekend with clearance rates bang on the average for the year so far, although Melbourne was just a couple of points down. The day delivered in terms of maintaining the momentum.”

The property market has been enjoying higher results this year, with the last 18 months’ worth of interest rate cuts beginning to flow through. Clearance rates have generally been in the high 60s since the beginning of the year.

But Wilson says there is still room for improvement. Even though clearance rates have been high, prices are still relatively low.

“There are some early indications of price rises,” he said, adding the Reserve Bank will keep a close note of upcoming reports of property price fluctuations.

“I think we will see some price rises, but it certainly does have some way to go to get back to prices form three years ago.”

“I think we’ll see some more activity this winter.”

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