The housing market woke up after the school holidays and long weekends to more than 2000 auctions and a new wave of stock on market.
With it came renewed cries of agents underquoting, interest rate speculation and some vendors selling for tens of thousands above reserve.
“It was like the opening of duck season: at some of the new A-grade houses on the market there were people showing up from everywhere,” Melbourne buyer’s agent David Morrell said.
The Easter holidays generally flag the start of a winter hiatus in property.
But buyer appetite and vendor confidence remain strong, similar to the same time last year, when momentum in the market recovery was building.
More than 800 homes were auctioned in both Sydney and Melbourne; 2033 homes were auctioned across the capital cities, with a 66.3 per cent overall clearance rate, according to RP Data.
Sydney’s clearance rate was 75.7 per cent. Among the top sellers was a six-bedroom Strathfield home, listed with McGrath Estate Agents, which sold for $3.85 million.
A renovated two-bedroom, one-bathroom cottage in Rozelle sold for $940,000, $60,000 above its reserve. Listed with Belle Property agents Lynsey Kemp and Georgia Glover, the circa-1900 home attracted 71 groups to inspections and 15 contracts were issued. The highest bidders were a couple from Gladesville.
There were 141 Brisbane auctions and the clearance rate was 42.5 per cent. The highest seller was a five-bedroom home in Wilston, listed with Ray White, which sold for $1.3 million.
In Melbourne, the most expensive auction result reported was $3.33 million for a Brighton apartment in Wolseley Grove.
Mr Morrell said more stock was now available, and with rising prices, buyers were discerning and price-sensitive.
“I haven’t seen so much under-quoting in a long time,” he said.
“A lot of new sales campaigns have kicked off; I’ve been talking to buyers and the agents are quoting 20 per cent below where they should be. You’d like to think if interest builds up they’ll change their price guide.”
PRICE GROWTH APPEARS SOFTER
After tracking upwards almost every month over the past year, price growth appears to have softened, according to RP Data. Analysts expect interest rates to remain on hold at Tuesday’s RBA meeting.
The RBA Shadow Board, a project based at the Australian National University’s Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, maintained its “hold” reading of rates. The shadow board is made up of nine economic experts, including previous RBA members Bob Gregory and Warwick McKibbin,
Shadow board chair Timo Henckel said the latest economic news showed promising economic signs, but the government’s first budget, to be delivered on May 14, was “a big unknown”.
“If the budget turns out to be tight and regressive, it will reduce aggregate demand and increase the likelihood that interest rates remain low,” he said.
Mal James of James Buyer Advocates said May was often an indicative month for the property cycle.
“Since 2007, three of the past four significant changes in market direction have happened in May,” he said.
“A down market started in May 2008; it turned back up in May 2009, and then back down in May 2010. The beginning of the current upmarket was back in late spring 2012.”
Mr James said agents and the industry were aware of the trend and there was generally some uncertainty at this time of year. “We’ll be very interested to see how this month pans out once we have more auctions on the books.”