Melbourne’s weekend auction market reported a solid result on Saturday despite the usual pre-Easter weekend surge in listings. The 72.3 percent auction clearance rate was the best result for three weeks and just above the 71.8 percent recorded the weekend before.

Melbourne hosted its highest number of auctions for the year on Saturday with 1277 properties going under the hammer in the metro area. Listing numbers this year so far have been significantly higher than last year’s autumn performance reflecting increased confidence from sellers keen to engage a market that has produced consistently solid results over the past three months.

Recent signs however continue of an auction market just holding the line with the trend in clearance rates waning slightly over the past month despite Saturday’s reasonably sturdy result.

The inner east produced the best regional result at the weekend with a clearance rate of 78.1 percent.  Next best was the west with 75.7 percent followed by the outer east with 73.5 percent – down on recent strong results - the north with 73.1 percent, the inner south with 72.1 percent and the inner city with a 71.9 percent clearance rate.

Notable auction sales in Melbourne’s inner east region reported at the weekend included a  5  bedroom home at 26 Yarravale  Road Kew sold for  $2,300,000 by Marshall White, a  4  bedroom home at 5a Hotham  Street Mont Albert sold for  $1,900,000 also sold by Marshall White, a  3  bedroom home at 71 Severn  Street Box Hill North sold by Ray White Box Hill for  $1,867,000 and another  3  bedroom home at 27 Scott  Street Kew sold for  $1,700,000 by Jellis Craig.

In the inner south a  4  bedroom home at 18 Turner  Street Malvern East sold by Marshall White for  $2,425,000, another  4  bedroom home at 11 Young  Street Brighton sold for  $2,165,000 by Hodges, a  4  bedroom home at 50 Lucas  Street Brighton East sold for  $1,785,000 by Marshall White and a  3  bedroom home at 1 Heath  Street Sandringham sold by Hocking Stuart for  $1,725,000.

 In the inner city a  3  bedroom home at 1 Lawrenny  Court Toorak sold for  $2,700,000 by Kay and Burton, another  3  bedroom home at 13 Canterbury  Road Albert Park sold for  $2,120,000 by Marshall White, a  4  bedroom home at 686 Rathdowne  Street Carlton North sold for  $1,650,000 by Woodards and a  3  bedroom home at 133 Simpson  Street East Melbourne sold by Jellis Craig Bennison for  $1,565,000.

Notable unit sales at the weekend included a 3  bedroom unit at 2/67 Walsh  Street South Yarra sold by Kay and Burton, for  $1,645,000 a  4  bedroom unit at 10/130 Flinders  Street Melbourne sold for  $1,300,000 by Melbourne Boutique Property,  a  2  bedroom unit at 4/11-17 Mayfield  Avenue Malvern sold by Marshall White for  $1,115,000 and another 2  bedroom unit at 1/5 Marine  Parade St Kilda sold for  $965,000 by Greg Hocking Real Estate.

Melbourne’s solid early autumn auction market takes a well-earned breather over the next two weekends as a result of the distractions of the Easter and ANZAC Day holiday breaks. The market will pick-up over the weeks following the break but lower buyer and seller activity can be expected moving into the typically quieter winter period.

Latest ABS Victoria loan data for February confirms a shifting local housing market with overall housing loans falling by 1.6 percent over the month.  Loans for purchases by owner-occupiers fell sharply by 6.2 percent over the month with another near record-low contribution from first home buyers whose numbers fell to the second lowest ever-recorded by the ABS and the lowest since1991. Investor loans however rose by 1 percent over the month.

The Victorian economy shows no signs of improvement with the latest ABS seasonally adjusted unemployment rate over March stuck at 6.4 percent - the highest rate since January 2002. Another significant factor that will act as an impediment to home buyer activity over the winter months ahead.

Dr Andrew Wilson is Senior Economist for Australian Property Monitors

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