Sydney’s auction volumes jumped by 19.6 per cent to 788 from a week ago, but they were 23.4 per cent lower than the same period last year.
In a sign of improving sellers’ confidence, the portion of homes withdrawn from auctions slumped to just 13 per cent, down from 28 per cent recorded in the middle of last year.
The share of homes sold before auction also dropped to around 40 per cent, a marked decline from the highs of 45-50 per cent late last year.
Prices beginning to rise
Mr Lawless said Sydney’s improving auction market was already showing up on CoreLogic’s daily home value index.
In the past four weeks, Sydney values had risen by 0.9 per cent and climbed by 0.7 per cent since the start of the month.
“I would be surprised if this trajectory slows down,” Mr Lawless said. “At this rate, we might even be reporting a rise above the 1 per cent mark by the end of the month.”
Melbourne’s preliminary clearance rate also rebounded strongly in the past week. It increased by 5.8 percentage points to 68.7 per cent.
While auction volumes nearly tripled to 1043, they were still substantially lower than the 1525 homes taken to auction during the same time last year.
Across the country, clearance rate lifted by 3.4 percentage points to 68.4 per cent, despite a 74.5 per cent jump in auction volume to 2234.
In the smaller capital cities, Brisbane cleared 55.7 per cent, Adelaide 63.3 per cent and Canberra 57.5 per cent.
Among the most competitive auctions was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 16 Seaview Street, Clovelly in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
The house sold for $3.63 million – $230,000 above the reserve after competitive bidding among five buyers.
Selling agent Nicholas Wise of Ray White Eastern Beaches said the home attracted over 100 buyers and more than 350 enquiries.
A duplex at 3 Lilla Place, Quakers Hill in Sydney’s west also exceeded sellers’ expectations after it sold under the hammer for $1.315 million – which was $215,000 above the reserve.
In Melbourne, a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house at 29 Coonawarra Drive, Vermont South, 20 kilometres east of the CBD was sold at auction for $1.706 million – which was $206,000 above the reserve.
Ray White Forest Hill selling agent Hugh Francis said it was not unusual for homes to sell more than $200,000 above reserve. “Quality homes are still getting big numbers, particularly with the low supply. The decent homes really stand out.”
Dan White, Ray White Group chairman said market activities had lifted as more buyers returned.
“I think buyers are becoming confident that interest rates are probably nearing a peak. They’re also probably encouraged when they see more buyers bidding with confidence as we’ve seen today.
“However, buyers are still cautious, and we’re not seeing the same level of frenzy as we’ve seen during the peak.”
The unfolding banking crisis in the US and Europe could also weigh on buyers’ confidence if it spreads here in Australia according to Mr Lawless.
“If it does start contagion and there’s an emerging financial stability risk, this wouldn’t be good for sentiment or for credit availability,” he said.
“So it’s a bit of a catch-22. I think that if we do see further banking risks emerging, we probably won’t see interest rates rising. But in the same sense, we probably see a lot more caution entering the market.”