Auctions market could maintain momentum through winter, sales figures suggest

The auctions market has continued to perform reasonably well during the autumn slowdown, with experts and analysts saying the industry may have enough momentum to push through the next few months with a better result than last year.

The comments come after the ANZ slashed its mortgage rates last Friday by 37 basis points, following the other big three banks in cutting rates after the Reserve Bank’s shock decision two weeks ago.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, Melbourne recorded a clearance rate of 63% out of 591 properties on the market, compared to 61% last week and 52% the same time last year, with 581 properties.

REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said in a statement that this weekend last year represented a “turning point”, when sales started to decline: “At this point, that outcome looks unlikely [to be] repeated this year, which is positive news for vendors”.

Analysts are inclined to agree. Andrew Wilson of Australian Property Monitors told SmartCompany this morning the auction market has certainly remained more active, “but we have to take this all in context of what’s happening in the broader economy”.

“Last year, after a reasonable autumn period, we started to get some broader economic impacts on the housing market. The European debt crisis, the tsunami in Japan and other issues impacted confidence and moved its way through the spring period a well.”

Now, he says, it’s a very different situation.

“We’ve had a growth in auction clearance rates in Melbourne and Sydney, and these rates have improved, in all cities. Numbers are still low in terms of properties being offered, but not far off last year.”

“The signs are positive the momentum can continue through what is normally a quieter, winter period. That’s because the economic dynamics are different, and confidence is lifting as well. We’re more optimistic than a year ago.”

Interest rate cuts don’t hurt, either, especially after ANZ’s move last Friday. But Wilson says while this is true, it’ll take a few more months for the cuts to seep into the market.

“That definitely improves housing affordability, and some more encouraging numbers are certainly there.”

“But the full impact of those falls won’t be felt for a month or two.”

Results were equally positive in Sydney, with a 61.8% clearance rate from 359 properties, along with 36% in Adelaide and 50% in Brisbane.


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