Auction clearance rates, which have remained steady in the last few months, may improve in the next two weeks on the back of a pre-Christmas rush to offload and buy properties, according to some auctioneers.
In Melbourne, the weekend clearance rate increased to 55 per cent, up from 53 per cent last weekend and 57 per cent this weekend last year, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV).
These figures are lower than the numbers released by Australian Property Monitors (APM), which found that more than 62 per cent of properties listed for auction in Melbourne sold over the weekend.
“There is only one more normal weekend of auctions this year and it appears that the overall clearance rate in 2011 will be 56 per cent,” REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said.
“There has been a total of 803 auctions reported this weekend of which 439 sold and 364 were passed in, 230 of those on a vendors bid. Next weekend the REIV expects 615 auctions.”
Paul English, corporate auctioneer for Harcourts Victoria, said last week that clearance rates had been improving in late November and early December.
"We’re seeing a lot of urgency in the lead up to Christmas," he said.
“Most buyers and sellers are looking to secure their property transactions before Christmas, so the next two weeks are going to be incredibly active in the property market."
Mr English says that the auction culture within Harcourts Victoria is constantly growing, especially with the holidays fast approaching.
“This is an incredibly active time for Harcourts Victoria. We have 25 auctions booked in over the next two weeks and we expect the clearance rates to be high.
“There is a really strong auction culture in Victoria at the moment, and within Harcourts we are looking to take our auctions in-house with our Mornington and Frankston offices in early 2012.”
In Sydney, both the Real Estate Institute of NSW and APM found just over half of the properties listed for auction sold over the weekend, with an auction clearance rate of 51 and 50.5 per cent respectively.
“This week 406 properties were reported sold and 393 passed in (57 of those on a vendor bid) for a clearance rate of 51 per cent,” REINSW chief executive Tim McKibbin said.
“This week’s clearance rate is an improvement on the 48 per cent rate this time last year, and continues the trend of a generally stronger spring auction season.”
A three bedroom home in Blakehurst, in Sydney's southern suburbs, was the most expensive property sold over the weekend, which went under the hammer for $2.5 million.
The weekend’s most affordable property was a two bedroom unit in Carramar NSW, in Sydney's southwest, which sold for $210,500.
There was little change in Adelaide and Brisbane over the weekend as both capitals recording a relatively low auction clearance rate of 31.6 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.
Independent auctioneering firm Jason Andrew Auctioneers reported better figures for south east Queensland the week before last, with the auction clearance rate hitting 48 per cent. The result, which was based on 42 auctions, was due to “growing pressure for buyers and sellers to finalise a deal prior to Christmas,” the company said.