The opening 2019 weekend for capital city auctions began with a whimper, highlighted by a continuing gap between vendor and buyer expectations.
Domain reported there was a preliminary 48 per cent success rate in Sydney, while Melbourne vendors secured a 44 per cent clearance rate.
Brisbane had a 30 per cent clearance rate.
Canberra, which with Adelaide were the strongest mainland auction capitals in 2018, had a 39 per cent success rate.
It was 48 per cent in Adelaide.
Just 360 homes went to auction across Australia, which was down on the 600 plus on the same opening weekend in the three prior years.
The nation’s top result was in Sydney’s Millers Point, which for several years was an auction hotspot.
It was a three-level terrace house at 82 Kent Street that last sold in 2016 in the state government’s now concluded Millers Point terrace sell-off.
After paying $2.48 million, the vendors renovated and restored the 1870s terrace.
It was passed in at its onsite weekend auction through Alison Coopes at Agency by Alison Coopes at $2.45 million.
It sold at around $2.7 million after post-auction negotiations.
Ms Coopes said the terrace had been “meticulously renovated”, including an ultra-modern kitchen with new appliances, along with two new bathrooms, one of which features a Swedish-design freestanding bath.
There were newly-set rendered walls and flooring, electrical wiring updates and reverse-cycle air-conditioning installed.
The investment had rented at $1750 a week.
The cheapest reported auction sale was in Adelaide, where $268,500 was paid for a three-bedroom Greenacres offering.
The auction was instructed by the Australia Executor Trustees.
The single-level property at 3/10 Princes Road was marketed as a “homette” by Ray White agent Samantha Hirniak.
It is within 15 kilometres of Adelaide’s CBD, beaches and Adelaide Hills.
The last sale of a neighbouring colonial brick villa was a two bedroom in the complex of five which sold for $230,000 in 2014.
In Melbourne’s Albert Park there were no bids for a three-bedroom terrace at 103 Ashworth Street, which sold last March for $1.65 million.
The Wilson agent Grace Le-Francke, who had issued a price guide from $1.55 million to $1.65 million, placed a vendor bid of $1.5 million.
Coastal offerings continued to attract buyer interest with a $1.3 million sale at Yamba, on the NSW far north coast.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment at 16/4 Queen Street sold through LJ Hooker.
It last sold at $700,000 in 2001. The previous highest sale in the Cove complex had been $1.15 million in 2006.
There was also the sale of a redundant regional Victoria church.
The former Uniting Church at 5 Barr Street, Tungamah saw five bidders turn up at the Elders Yarrawonga auction.
Agent Rod Leslie told the Herald Sun it was called on the market at $80,000, and sold at $92,500 to locals.
There were far fewer fresh listings across the capitals on the weekend than in recent prior February kickoffs.
Sydney had 110 scheduled weekend auctions, down on the 178 the same Saturday in 2018 when there was a 50 per cent success rate.
Melbourne vendors also numbered 110 on the weekend, down from 210 on the first Saturday in February last year which saw a 62 per cent clearance rate.
Agents said buyers were still facing lending issues given the credit squeeze that emerged following from the Financial Services Royal Commission, whose final findings and recommendations will be released on Monday.
Jonathan Chancellor is editor at large at Property Observer