The vendors hoping for a Santa Claus rally in the ailing property auction market were mostly left disappointed after their weekend auctions.
Buyers traditionally tune out so close to Christmas, given all the distractions.
A few homes will be sold on Monday, Christmas Eve, but most estate agents have headed off on their long holiday hibernation.
Of course, some buyers will be back in the market keen for Boxing Day-style discounts from anxious vendors who have committed elsewhere and are desperate for a sale.
The last-minute, pre-Christmas weekend auction offerings numbered just a dozen or so around most capitals, rather than the thousands that are regularly on offer most Saturdays of the year across the nation.
Estate agent Adam Docking recently suggested pre-Christmas listings were “a calculated risk”.
“The weekend is usually very, very soft the Saturday before Christmas,” Mr Docking told News Ltd.
But the very last scheduled auction of 2018 found a buyer yesterday at Hampton Park, in Melbourne’s outer south east.
There were 11 interested parties when the five-bedroom, late 1980s house at 3 Candlebark Close sold under the hammer at the 2pm Sunday auction, just two days out from Christmas.
“A local first-time buyer was the top bidder,” said Elias Salimi, the selling agent from Rexhepi Real Estate.
“The vendors got $13,000 over reserve,” he added after the bidding kicked off at $470,000. It resulted in the sale for $583,000.
There was just a shortened three-week auction campaign following its recent renovation.
The agent had previously told the Herald Sun that the auction date was set to suit their religious commitments, and an auction process had been selected to ensure there was an “unconditional sale this year”.
Hampton Park median house prices finished off the year at $550,000, according to realestateview, having kicked off the year at $500,000.
There was also a sale in Melbourne’s Westmeadows, where 22 Swan Avenue fetched $675,000 through Barry Plant Gladstone Park.
The price guide for the four-bedroom, two-bathroom house had been $610,000 to $650,000.
Another Saturday auction hopeful that sold was 4 Korab Place, Roxburgh Park.
Set on a 580-square-metre block, the house had an indicative price guide of $540,000 to $580,000.
It fetched $625,000.
The four-bedroom two-bathroom house was marketed as having a crescent driveway with room for seven vehicles.
It had been a $200,000 building project in 2010 after the block was bought six years earlier for $154,000.
The three-bedroom home at 1 Montrose Avenue sold through Starr Partners, one of just a handful scheduled for Sydney weekend auction.
Queensland had an 11 per cent success rate from the 95 auctions scheduled over the past week.
Canberra saw just 8 per cent of its 30 listings find a buyer over the past week.
Adelaide was the most resilient with a 41 per cent clearance rate from its 60 auctions over the past week, according to CoreLogic.
Its sales included 15 Stephens Avenue, Torrensville, a four-bedroom house set on a 1100-square-metre holding that sold for an undisclosed price.
The 1930s Tudor home was marketed as likely to “respond well to renovations or subdivision subject to council consent”.
Auction volumes will be negligible now until early February, except in coastal locations.
Agents have listed dozens of fresh beachside offerings with many set for late January auction, especially on the Australia Day weekend.
In Western Australia there’s a Port Geographe waterfront 838 sqm vacant block with direct access to Geographe Bay set for a January 19 auction.
Some beach offerings have been snapped up as soon as they hit the market, including a beach shack at Berrara on the NSW south coast that was listed at $1.75 million.
The home that sits on a 1138-square-metre beachfront block quickly went under contract last week.
The Ray White Surfers Paradise Group is gearing up for its annual auction program The Event, its flagship residential auction on Monday, January 28.
“The Australia Day long weekend will be the prime time for buyers as inquiries are traditionally up 60 per cent during January and we’re expecting next year to be no different,” Ray White Surfers Paradise CEO Andrew Bell said.
Jonathan Chancellor is editor at large at Property Observer