The distraction of Christmas parties, shopping and holidays caught up with the bumper stock of weekend property auctions.
Not harshly, but the clearance rates did dip into the low 70s as record volumes came in a flood of late December property.
There were some 70-plus auctions held on Sunday in an unusually high attempt to sell before Santa arrives.
And nine Christmas Eve auctions are scheduled across four states, according to realestate.com.au for next Saturday.
One of the failed weekend offerings was a former lolly shop in Williamstown.
Marketed at $1.1 million-plus, the 45 Stevedore Street listing was passed in at $1,265,000.
The Herald Sun reported the residence attracted a $1.3 million written offer post-auction to RT Edgar Williamstown.
The five-bedroom property, built in the late 1800s, was being offered for the first time in 21 years, last selling for $189,000 in 1995.
There was success, however, at Brighton’s Dendy Beach.
A bathing box, built by the local council, sold at a record price.
It was listed through Nick Johnstone Real Estate agent Alan McGillivray, who given its distant location on the strip, gave a cautious mid-$200,000s price guidance.
But Box 85 sold on Saturday for $326,000. Painted orange and yellow, the box exceeded recent records of $295,000, set in early 2016, and mid-year when bathing Box 44 sold for $307,000.
Auctioneer Nick Johnstone told the crowd only three more of the boxes will be built.
There were three bidders, with the box eventuallty knocked down to Brighton East resident Warren Kerr, a father of three daughters.
A $4.6 million Warrawee on Sydney’s North Shore home topped the nation’s weekend auction sales.
The 2A Pibrac Avenue offering sold two days before the weekend auction having been marketed with $4.5 million expectations through Di Jones Real Estate.
The five-bedroom, architecturally-designed home on a 1560 square metre block last sold at $1.5 million in 2003.
The cheapest sale was $250,000 at Frankston in Melbourne.
The 7/74 Beach Street home was a top-floor, two-bedroom apartment that had been recently renovated.
It was last listed for rent at $250 a week in 2014.
Melbourne’s top sale was 24 Alexandra Avenue, Canterbury, which sold through Marshall White for $4,012,000.
The 1910, five-bedroom brick home sold in 2012 at $2,505,000.
CoreLogic’s Kevin Brogan noted the combined capital city clearance rate fell slightly to 70.5 per cent, down from last week’s 71.6 per cent.
The number of properties taken to auction also fell across the capital cities, with 2722 down from 3432 last week, which was the second-busiest auction week of the year.
“However, compared to the corresponding week last year, auction activity is significantly higher, with 1818 auctions and a lower rate of clearance (59.4 per cent) reported over the same period last year.”
He advised that auction numbers will remain relatively sedate over the festive period.
In Melbourne the number of homes taken to auction fell to 1286, down from last week’s seasonal high of 1685, with the preliminary clearance rate for the city also falling over the week (75.7 per cent), down from 78.4 per cent over the previous week.
“However, this is significantly higher than the corresponding week last year when 875 auctions were reported with a clearance rate of 65.7 per cent,” he noted.
The Mornington Peninsula saw an 82.5 per cent preliminary clearance rate across 52 auctions, including a $737,000 sale at Dromana.
The unrenovated five-bedroom cottage had last sold in 2011 for $455,000.
The price guidance for the weekend auction had been $630,000 to $690,000.
Across Sydney, there was a lower volume of auctions this week, with 874 held, down from 1168 over the previous week.
The preliminary clearance rate for the city saw a slight increase over last week, up to 74.1 per cent from 73.7 per cent last week.
Sales included a single-storey Dee Why cottage at $1,655,000.
The 11 Oceana Street East weatherboard on 475 square metres had been in the Davidson family since being built six decades ago.
There were 233 Brisbane properties taken to auction with a preliminary clearance rate of 45.7 per cent, up from 43.5 per cent last week and also higher than the same period last year, when 45 per cent of the 191 properties taken to auction were successful.
Adelaide saw a preliminary clearance rate of 61.4 per cent across a total of 132 scheduled auctions.
South Australia has the most auctions next Saturday, Christmas Eve, with three listings.
Perth’s clearance rate of 30 per cent across 47 auctions was up from the previous week, when 76 auctions were held and a clearance rate of 20.0 per cent was recorded.
Canberra’s preliminary auction clearance rate of 65.5 per cent this week is higher than last week, when the final auction clearance rate was 60.8 per cent and also higher than the 52.2 per cent recorded last year.
Jonathan Chancellor is editor-at-large at Property Observer.