Mounting coronavirus fears were no match for the resurgent housing market this weekend.
Clearance rates held firm and several properties sold well above reserve as another RBA rate cut encouraged buyers to bid up prices.
Public holidays in four of the eight states and territories meant the number of homes that went under the hammer across the country (1456) were less than half the number last week (3026).
But, in a sign of the market’s strength, volumes were up 21.6 per cent on the year before (1197 homes), with sellers enticed back into the market by rising property values.
The expectation among bidders at a deceased estate on Oakley Road in North Bondi is that the latest rate cut will push values even higher in the coming months.
After the two-bedroom, one-bathroom house sold for $350,000 above reserve, selling agent Peter Starr of Raine and Horne Double Bay told The Sunday Telegraph “there is a lot of optimism” as a result of the record rate cut.
Elsewhere, a renovator sold a three-bedroom house in West Ryde, Sydney for $1.71 million less than nine months after buying it for $1.3 million, and a nervy buyer snapped up a three-bedroom house in Fitzroy, Melbourne after enlisting a neighbour to bid on her behalf.
Across the country, the preliminary clearance rate rose from 73.9 per cent to 74.8 per cent.
Sydney’s was the strongest auction market. It registered the highest number of auctions and recorded a clearance rate of 82.6 per cent, up from 81.4 per cent the week before.
Its highest disclosed sale was a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home at 8 Wallis Street, Woollahra.
It sold through The Agency for $6.1 million, having sold for $3.4 million in 2015.
Melbourne was the second busiest auction market, but it trailed Sydney by quite some distance, thanks to the public holiday on Monday.
The city registered 404 auctions and recorded a much lower clearance rate of 68.6 per cent, down from 77.1 per cent the week before.
CoreLogic auction commentator Kevin Brogan attributed the declining success rate to weaker participation due to the long weekend.
The city’s highest disclosed sale was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1920s-built home in Canterbury, which Jellis Craig sold for $2.89 million, a touch above the suburb median.
It last sold for $850,000 in 2003.
Stained glass windows and timber flooring feature throughout. And a Spanish Mission facade adds plenty of character.
Meanwhile, Queensland’s highest disclosed sale was an eight-bedroom, four-bathroom mansion at 22 Mossman Court in Noosa Heads ($4 million, as seen in the below video); South Australia’s was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Unley Park ($1,395,000); ACT’s was a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Wright ($990,000); and Western Australia’s was a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Swan View ($496,000).
CoreLogic’s Mr Brogan said the results reflected plenty of demand for Australian property, with “clearance rates keeping pace” with the rise in volumes throughout February.
Although agents have warned the coronavirus could discourage buyers from attending auctions and inspections to avoid infection, Mr Brogan said those fears had not yet been realised.
For the moment at least, buyers were using more hand sanitiser rather than staying away from auctions, he said.
But increasing affordability constraints could slow the pace of price growth over the next six moths, with stagnant wages offsetting the boost from Tuesday’s rate cut.
“Looking at the results out of New South Wales, where the market was unaffected by public holidays, that gives you an idea that the market is performing pretty strongly,” Mr Brogan told The New Daily.
Meanwhile, My Housing market chief economist Dr Andrew Wilson said the “near-boom time” results showed the RBA’s rate cut had reinforced “strong housing market activity”.
“And given the latest underwhelming GDP data and potential negative economic issues associated with the coronavirus, another cut clearly remains on the cards – sooner rather than later,” he said.