Preliminary finals held for both the AFL and NRL did little to keep property hunters away from auctions in Sydney and Melbourne last week, according to CoreLogic's latest numbers.
With both cities featuring teams in both finals, competition is thick in the air between the big two. Sydney won the auction clearance rate contest, with a rate once again well above 80% at 84.4% according to CoreLogic’s preliminary data. This was just a small bump from 85.1% the prior week but well above 71.7% of the corresponding week last year.
Melbourne fell just short of 80% with a preliminary clearance rate around 79%, up from 78% the week before. The number of properties available for auction also increased from 956 to 1,090.
Despite these increases, both markets are down on number of properties slated for auction compared to 12 months ago. In the same week last year, Melbourne had 1,201 auctions and Sydney was close behind with 1,200.
Nationally, the combined clearance rate was above 70% for the ninth consecutive week at 78.3% on preliminary figures. Adelaide had a good week, with close to 84% of its 126 scheduled auctions successfully clearing.
Domain reports that the median auction price in Sydney rose to $1.3m last week – meaning auction sale prices are now 17.4% higher than they were for the same weekend last year. Last week a 4br, 695sqm home in Westleigh sold under the hammer for this price, as did 4br homes in Blakehurst and Oatlands.
In an extreme example of the level of competition in Sydney, a 4br Bronte home that was expected to fetch about $5.8m smashed its reserve by more than $1.5m, selling for $7.35m. The home, nestled on the beach, was advertised as a development opportunity with unobstructed views and was Sydney's most expensive disclosed auction sale for the week.
Bronte saw a second strong sale last week, a 4br, 450sqm house that fetched $4.1m.
Not too far away, a studio apartment on Oxford St in Bondi Junction was the most affordable property reported sold at auction last week, fetching $360,500.
Looking ahead, NRL grand final weekend is typically a much quieter week on the property market in Sydney. Domain estimates that the number of properties up for auction will drop to 250.
Melbourne’s median auction price has not seen the same increases as Sydney. Domain reports that last week the median was $748,500, which was lower than the median of $865,000 the prior week and $751,000 on the same week last year.
Buyers with the median amount to spend on the weekend snapped up a 3br townhouse in Newport with $1,500 left over. For the savvy investor, a 1br unit in Reservoir in Melbourne's north-east was the most affordable property reported sold for $216,000. In the same unit complex another 1br unit went for $220,000, both included off-street parking spaces.
At the other end of the market, a 5br home in Northcote sold prior to auction for $4.3m, setting a new price record for the suburb. Coming in second was a 4br, 883sqm home in Canterbury that sold at auction for an even $4m. On the corner of the "Golden Mile", the 1930s single-level home was marketed for its potential to renovate and expand.
Like Sydney, the number of properties going to auction in Melbourne next weekend is expected to drop as the Swans and Bulldogs battle it out for the AFL Grand Final on Saturday. But sellers in Melbourne should be very encouraged by the strong start to the spring season.