Sydney and Melbourne posted strong weekend property sales, despite buyers showing signs of being more choosy after recent weeks of frantic bidding, according to property specialists.
Notable sales in Sydney included $2.7 million paid for a designer-built house that looks like a tin shed from the outside, in inner-Sydney Redfern, and $1.7 million for a three-bedroom apartment with harbour views owned by INXS guitarist Tim Farriss.
Thirty-five housing blocks in Potts Hill, about 35 kilometres south-west of central Sydney, sold within hours of being put on the market. The blocks were the final tranche of a 400-lot estate that has sold out in two years – half the time originally estimated.
“Sydney is a hot market,” said Robert Sullivan, head of retail development for UrbanGrowth, part of Landcom, which is the NSW government’s property developer that works with the private sector.
The nation’s two biggest cities pushed the national clearance rate above 70 per cent for the sixth successive week, despite sub-60 per cent rates in all the other capitals except Brisbane, which lagged at 37 per cent.
This weekend is another Super Saturday, with nearly 200 $1 million-plus auctions scheduled across Melbourne alone, which should provide insights into the depth of demand as the market heads into the traditionally slower Easter period.
MELBOURNE BUYERS GET SELECTIVE
The highest national median price for a house in Sydney is around $730,000, well over double the median price for the lowest in Hobart.
Sydney is also the apartment capital of Australia, with more than 1300 selling at a median price of about $580,000 – more than twice the number of sales in Melbourne.
Demand remains strong in Melbourne, but buyers appear to be becoming more selective, according to Mal James, principal buyer advocate for James Buyer Advocates.
Mr James said while about six out of every 10 auctions his colleagues attended had two or more bidders, nearly 25 per cent had none.
“This is a market that is altering the speed of its rise. We have previously sold pretty much everything that was selling. That is no longer the case. The A-graders continue to motor along, but the over-priced B-graders and C-graders have started to run out of gas.”
He claims the market is slowing to a more sustained pace rather than about to hit reverse.
Melbourne hot spots include Balwyn, which is popular with local and offshore Chinese bidders, where more than 180 people attended the sale of a house in Percy Street that sold for $2.8 million. By contrast, an Edwardian family home in leafy Armstrong Street, Middle Park – a perennial favourite with buyers because of its close proximity to the sea and city – was passed in on a vendor bid of $3 million.
Clearance rates in Perth and Brisbane remain comparatively subdued in the wake of a slowing property market.
About 100 people attended the sale of a “tin shed” in Marriott Street, Redfern, which sold for $230,000 above the reserve. Behind the rusty facade is a two-bed house and two-bed renovated studio with one car park and three bathrooms.