Auction clearance rates surged in Sydney last week following several sub-70% weeks, with investor interest continuing to drive the city's lucrative property market.
The harbour city posted a preliminary clearance rate of 73.7% according to Domain, a big leap from the 70.2% recorded the week before. This was from 631 listed auctions, also up on both the previous week (501 listed auctions) and the same week last year (466), and was the highest clearance rate in more than two months.
The final winter weeks are typically among the quietest for auction activity in both cities before the markets warm up again in spring.
Melbourne also posted a preliminary clearance rate above 70% last week, with around 72% of properties successfully clearing from 823 listed auctions.
Although the rate of value growth in the Sydney property market has slowed slightly over this year, the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that the value of loans approved to residential investors in NSW over June was the second-highest monthly total ever recorded for the state, confirming investor interest remains strong.
At the top end of town, several properties sold at auction for more than $4m, including a 5br, 5-acre Dural residence that fetched $4.575m and a brand new 6br, 613sqm Strathfield home that went for $4.25m. But the most expensive property reported sold at auction in Sydney over the weekend was in Longueville, where a 5br, 1,277sqm waterfront house with private jetty fetched $8m.
A 2br brick unit with parking in Narwee in the city's south-west sold under the hammer for $457,000, making it Sydney's most affordable auction sale for the week.
Sydney's weekly auction median price came in at $1.33m, according to Domain. A 4br, 826sqm Chipping Norton property sold for this price.
Last week, CoreLogic reported that close to half of all Sydney houses sold for at least $1m over the 2017 financial year, auction or otherwise, compared to just 13.8% of houses in FY07.
Like Sydney, Melbourne's median auction price continues to creep up, hitting $898,000 last week according to Domain. One buyer snapped up a 4br property in Diamond Creek in the city's north-east for this price last week.
In Camberwell, a 1,552sqm site with approved plans and permits for eight townhouses sold under the hammer for more than $5m, making it Melbourne's most expensive disclosed auction sale for the week.
At the affordable end of the market, two single-bedroom units with parking in the same Pascoe Vale block each sold for $257,500. Each unit offers a rental return of $230-250 per week.
Despite strong price growth in Melbourne's housing market over the past few years, it remains far more accessible than Sydney's. Where almost half of Sydney houses sold for $1m or more over FY17, CoreLogic reports only around a quarter of Melbourne houses sold for this price over the same period.