The much-anticipated July 1 stamp duty savings for first-time buyers came into effect on Saturday in NSW and Victoria, but there was little evidence of a stampede to buy.
The combination of winter and school holidays may have offset any large turnout of cashed-up young Australians, as the national auction success rate stayed at a relatively low 70 per cent, according to CoreLogic.
The combined capital city preliminary clearance rate was only marginally higher at 70.3 per cent on the first July weekend.
“Auction clearance rates have been trending lower since reaching a peak at the end of February 2017 when the combined capitals clearance was recorded at 78.4 per cent,” CoreLogic auction analyst Kevin Brogan said.
Economists had widely predicted that the stamp duty cuts would fail to help first home buyers, as the extra cash from state governments would simply be used to bid up auction prices, negating any long-term benefit.
The effect could be hard to discern because investors are being deterred by tighter lending criteria and higher interest rates.
The softness in clearance rates certainly wasn’t because of a flood of homes being listed for sale.
According to CoreLogic, auction volumes were lower this week, with 1984 homes taken to auction across the combined capital cities, down from 2355 last week.
However, the volume was significantly higher than this time last year when auction volumes were quieter due to the federal election when only 841 homes were taken to auction.
Over the weekend, Brisbane had the nation’s cheapest sale when a townhouse at Woodbridge fetched $245,000 in pre-auction negotiations.
Located at 23/45-47 Defiance Street, the three-bedroom property has been a $330 a week rental for its South Australian investors.
They had paid $314,000 in 2009. They had been looking to sell since 2016 when they sought $280,000.
Melbourne’s cheapest was a one-bedroom unit at Essendon sold for $291,000.
Located at 10/30 Richardson Street, the 1970s apartment last sold in 2009 for $252,500.
Sydney’s cheapest auction result was a $455,000 pre-auction sale of a studio apartment in Darlinghurst.
The 17/257-261 Darlinghurst Road offering in the 1880s The Statler complex last sold at $250,000 in 2011.
The agents suggested it had a potential $400-a-week rental income.
The nation’s dearest weekend sale was an original condition 1960s Armadale house which sold for $5.2 million, Melbourne’s most expensive weekend auction result.
Located at 52 Adelaide Street, the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home on 761 square metres has the potential to be renovated, rebuilt or redeveloped, according to Marshall White selling agents Marcus Chiminello and Nicole French.
Melbourne had the highest number of auctions, with 866 properties going to market, followed closely by Sydney with 832 homes going under the hammer.
Across Melbourne, 71.9 per cent sold amid the 750 reported auctions.
This was down from 1047 last week when the final clearance rate was 70.7 per cent.
There was no sale when 7 Watties Rd, Templestowe, one of the suburb’s original farmhouses, was offered.
Built in the early 1900s, the two-bedroom weatherboard cottage on 1.37ha, now comes with a $2.6 million asking price.
It last sold in 1991 at $362,000.
In Sydney, 832 properties were taken to auction with a preliminary clearance rate of 72.6 per cent, increasing from last week when the final clearance rate was 68.2 per cent across 939 auctions.
One year ago, just 365 Sydney homes were taken to auction and the clearance rate was 78.4 per cent.
There were 119 Brisbane homes taken to auction, with 77 results reported so far.
A Manly house sold for $1.42 million making it Brisbane’s most expensive weekend auction.
Located at 12 Kooralgin Street, the 483 sqm property is positioned on Manly Hill with harbour views.
Brisbane’s preliminary clearance rate was 54.5 per cent, up from 33.3 per cent last week and higher than one year ago.
Adelaide saw a preliminary clearance rate of 62.5 per cent, with 56 reported results across a total of 79 scheduled auctions.
In comparison, over the previous week Adelaide’s clearance rate was 68.5 per cent and 62.3 per cent one year ago.
The Adelaide results included a 1930s Hawthorn house for $1.125 million.
Located at 21 Sussex Terrace, the art deco-style property was originally built as a doctor’s residence with consulting room.
Built in 1938, it was last sold in 2008 for $880,000.
There were 43 Perth auctions with 50 per cent selling. Last week there was a 39.6 per cent clearance rate.
Canberra’s preliminary auction clearance rate of 75.8 per cent across 36 auctions is higher than both last week, when the final auction clearance rate was 67.2 per cent, and last year (54.2 per cent).
A four-bedroom Red Hill, ACT house sold for $1.4 million making 12 Hicks Street Canberra’s most expensive weekend auction sale.
Jonathan Chancellor is editor at large at Property Observer.