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Could this be the hottest spring ever for property sellers?

Could this be the hottest spring on record for property sellers?

It was another strong week for property sellers across the country, fuelled by vibrant auction activity in Sydney and Melbourne in the lead-up to Super Saturday.

Auction clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne refuse to let up, despite the number of properties for sale continuing to increase.

A total of 2,950 auctions were held across the capitals last week, up from 2,843 the week prior. This had little impact on the overall auction clearance rate, however. Core Logic reports a preliminary rate of 75.6%, which is only slightly down from 77.5% the week before.

With a preliminary auction clearance rate of 81.2% across 1,064 auctions, Sydney continues to prove a happy hunting ground for sellers. Melbourne also saw similar encouraging numbers last week, with a preliminary auction clearance rate of 79.4% across 1,299 auctions, according to Core Logic.

It’s expected this week will see even more auctions in both property markets as sellers try to take advantage of the always busy Super Saturday, which is the final weekend of spring.

Auction clearance rates have been stable and strong in Melbourne and Sydney since July, so a healthy Spring Sunday could cap off two successful seasons of real estate trading in the big two markets.

Sydney highlights

An off-the-plan sale was the biggest news in Sydney real estate last week, when the penthouse in Circular Quay's Opera Residences sold for $27m – just above an adjacent sale of $26m only a few days earlier. The development, on the site of the old Coca-Cola Amatil building, is set to be completed in late 2019.

Also making headlines last week was the sale of iconic Point Piper mansion Altona for more than $60m. The property last traded as recently as 2013 for $52m, setting a then record price for Sydney real estate.   

In the auction market, the most expensive property reported sold last week was a 4br house in Mosman that fetched $5.77m. Sitting on 617sqm of waterfront land, the 1970s double brick home includes 4 bathrooms and 3 parking spaces.

Domain reports Sydney's median auction price dropped slightly last week to $1,221,500 from $1,227,750 the week prior. This was enough to buy a 3br, 188sqm townhouse in Concord (which sold under the hammer for ($1.215m) as well as a 2br garden apartment in Darling Point ($1.218m).

It remains a tough task to buy property at auction in Sydney for less than $500,000. The most affordable property reported sold in the greater Sydney region was a 3br townhouse in Long Jetty on the Central Coast that sold for $395,000. Closer to the Sydney CBD, a 3br brick house in Minto marketed for its renovation potential sold prior to auction for $430,000.

Despite the higher prices, Sydney appears to remain an attractive option for investors. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that investor finance approved for Sydney buyers over the month of September increased by 8.9%. However, over the year investor finance is down 11.4% when compared to the same period in 2015.

Melbourne highlights  

While there were no $60m+ house sales or $27m apartment records set in Melbourne, there were still plenty of opportunities for those with a bit of cash to spend. The most expensive property reported sold at auction was a 5br house in St Kilda that fetched $4.4m. The home comes complete with a pool, wine cellar and fish ponds.

A few suburbs east in Malvern, a 5br, 580sqm Victorian residence fetched $4.24m.

Melbourne's median auction price rose to $860,000 from the week before, but still remains significantly lower than Sydney’s. This amount was enough to buy a 3br townhouse in Chadstone, as well as a 3br, 636sqm Mordialloc brick house.

Part of the reason for this lower median auction price is the more accessible entry into the Melbourne property market when compared to Sydney. The most affordable property reported sold was a 4br, 570sqm Melton house on the city's outskirts that went under the hammer for $262,000.

Like Sydney, Melbourne saw an increase in approved investor finance in September. The increase was a bit smaller at just 2.9% according to ABS figures. Over the first nine months of 2016, investor finance has dropped 8.9% when compared to last year. 

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice.