The Melbourne property market stumbled over its first hurdle at the weekend, as a rise in auction volumes saw the city post a relatively poor clearance rate of 63.9%.
The result pulled down the national average to 65.9%, after it lifted last week to 69.7%.
Melbourne sold only 397 of the 738 properties that went under the hammer, according to RP Data.
RP Data Victorian housing market specialist Robert Larocca told SmartCompany the weekend was the first real test for Melbourne, with a rise in auction numbers in the all-important inner-east area.
“The first weekend with better volumes has created a cause for concern,” Larocca says.
Larocca says the announcement of unemployment figures last week detracted from consumer confidence in Victoria, which has lately been “middle of the road” in the state.
But he notes this is potentially good news for buyers, as vendors may lower their price expectations.
In contrast, Sydney scored a 75.5% clearance on its 530 auctions, with 332 properties changing hands across the city.
“Sydney is proving a consistent and strong market,” Larocca says. “It really is building a solid base for spring.”
Larocca says Sydney will be the market to watch from an auction perspective as spring approaches, if stock volumes remain as high as anticipated.
“It could be a spring like Sydney has never seen before,” he says.
Around the country, the smaller auction markets were mixed. Adelaide notched a 75.0% clearance on 55 auctions, while Brisbane lagged again with a 35.3% clearance on 121 properties.
New listing activity is up 2.5% on a seasonally adjusted month-on-month change, according to RP Data.
Larocca says this is to be expected at this time of year as the market heads into the full bloom for spring.