The peak of auction season typically comes in March, but this year sellers and buyers appear extra keen to buy and sell property under the hammer before the close of summer.
A total of 3,232 auctions were held across the capital cities with a preliminary auction clearance rate of 78.6%, according to CoreLogic - significantly higher than the 2,701 auctions held in the same week last year with a clearance rate of 71.4%. This set a new volume record for the month of February.
Melbourne and Sydney both saw their highest auction numbers on record for the month. Melbourne played host to 1,613 auctions last week, a big jump on the 1,347 held in the same week of 2016. Sydney also went into the thousands last week, hosting 1,169 auctions. Both markets recorded preliminary clearance rates above 80% on CoreLogic numbers.
Combined, Melbourne and Sydney accounted for around 86% of all property auctions held across the capital cities last week. Volume numbers were roughly the same in Brisbane and Adelaide compared to the same week last year, but clearance rates were up in both cities. Canberra saw improvements in volumes and clearance rates.
Melbourne continues to be the standout auction market both for the number of properties available and the range in prices to cover varying buyer types.
The most affordable property reported sold in the Victorian capital was a 2br unit with parking in Mernda that went for $245,000. For potential first home buyers this price point is a lot more accessible than that being offered in Sydney (see below).
Melbourne's median auction price sat a bit higher last week compared to the week before at $850,000, according to Domain. A 4br townhouse in Templestowe Lower sold under the hammer for this price on Saturday, as did a 3br, 590sqm original condition Heidelberg Heights weatherboard home marketed for its development potential, and a 4br, 696sqm family home in Eltham North.
At the high end of town, a 4br house in Malvern sold under the hammer for $5.075m. The newly built home comes complete with a home theatre, private lift, wine cellar and six-car garage with turntable.
Never one to be outdone, Sydney saw the most expensive sale at auction of all the capital cities. In a rare type of auction sale, an entire block of units in Bronte sold for $6.2m. The 593sqm mixed-use property features four semi-sized apartments and two retail stores, and was advertised online as having a potential gross annual income of $210,000.
It was a busy weekend for auction sales at the high end of Sydney town, with three properties going for more than $5m. These included a 4br, 430sqm Victorian home in Kirribilli (selling for $5.85m), a 5br beachfront home in Dee Why ($5.68m) and a 4br, 529sqm Mosman home less than 200m to Balmoral Beach ($5.2m).
The high-end sales appear to have helped drive up Sydney's auction median price to an eye-watering $1.42m. A renovated 4br double-storey house in Gymea sold for this price, while a 2br, 518sqm Kogarah Bay house fetched $1.421m.
Sydney’s preliminary auction clearance rate was also the highest of the capitals at 81.5%, according to Core Logic. This is despite the fact that entry into the Sydney property market remains challenging.
The most affordable property reported sold at auction last week was a 2br unit in Liverpool that sold prior to auction for $423,500. The apartment comes with a single car garage and separate laundry.
Domain predicts Sydney will have much fewer auctions this week, which could lead to even more of a spike in the auction clearance rate as competition amongst buyers increases.