Melbourne real estate market not blooming citywide as spring market takes off

by | Aug 29, 2016 | property

This article was first published by Chris Tolhurst via domain.com.au on 27 Aug 2016 | Image: McGrath auctioneer Mike Divito in action at 41 Johnson St, Northcote, on Saturday. Photo: Arsineh Houspian


It was a day of ups and downs for sellers on Saturday as Melbourne buyers were offered their widest choice of properties in two months.


Listings increased in most suburbs, and the market responded positively, with the Domain Group reporting a clearance rate of 78 per cent from 725 reported auctions.


This was on a par with the previous week’s 77.7 per cent. The results of a further 143 scheduled auctions were unreported.


But agents say the market remains patchy in some areas and at certain price points, despite listings now clearly trending down.


The last weekend in August is traditionally the first big Saturday of the spring market. Numbers will dip to 730 auctions next weekend, but will then spike up and should stay high on most non-holiday weekends until December.



Tap here for Saturday’s auction results.

Tap here for the Market Snapshot.


While auction properties are clearing well, and the market is witnessing tearaway results for selected properties, other houses and units are only getting over the line, or attracting no bids.


“It’s a mixed market,” said buyer’s advocate Miriam Sandkuhler, of Property Mavens. “If properties appear to be compromised in any way, people just aren’t putting up their hand to compete.”


Ms Sandkuhler attended Biggin & Scott’s auction of a single-fronted cottage at 21 Crown Street in Richmond, which kicked off with a $1 million offer.


“There were only two bidders and it sold for $1,165,000 after the agent referred to the vendors three times,” she said. “The house has a galley kitchen, and I’m guessing that the reserve must have been higher if the bid was referred three times – the threshold of $1 million probably knocks a lot of buyers out.”


Elsewhere, a double-fronted house at 14 Merton Street, Albert Park, attracted no genuine bids for RT Edgar and was passed in for $1.7 million, which was surprising given Albert Park’s popularity.


It was a vastly different story at the auction of a triple-fronted Victorian residence at 18 Campbell Road, Deepdene, which sold for a hefty $1.4 million above its reserve.


A 150-strong crowd watched six bidders fight for the five-bedroom home. It was declared on the market by Kay & Burton at $4.8 million and eventually sold to a local family for $6,205,000.


Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said Melbourne’s run of high clearance rates  reflected “a conservative but confident market”.


On Saturday, the citywide agency franchise groups, Hocking Stuart and Barry Plant, both reported company clearance rates above 80 per cent.


Even so, Barry Plant’s James Hatzimoisis described the market as sporadic and patchy.


“Last week, we had three auctions in Delahey,” he said. “It’s a little suburb in between St Albans and Taylors Lakes and has always been one level below Taylors Lakes value-wise, but the properties all sold for $100,000 above reserve.


“It was purely and simply because stock is so tight – people are spilling over to neighbouring suburbs and pushing prices up. But on other weeks the market is more level.”


Melbourne’s house prices experienced a growth spurt from 2013 to 2015, particularly in the eastern suburbs. Many commentators believe the city’s market has passed the peak in its cycle, with a decline in sales activity since the start of the year.