Melbourne’s auction market responded “surprisingly” well to unprecedented social distancing and isolation measures that came into effect at the weekend.
While auction numbers were relatively stable, the clearance dipped from 72 per cent to 66 per cent in the space of a week based on preliminary realestate.com.au figures.
The figure was better than expected, according to chief economist Nerida Conisbee.
“The clearance rate was surprisingly high over the weekend, particularly given the large number of auctions taking place and continued concerns over COVID-19,” Ms Conisbee said.
The results for those sold were also surprisingly high, as agents had to limit the number of people inspecting homes and auction crowds had to spread out.
The weekend’s highlights included a Bulleen house that sold for $1.8 million on a single bid.
Barry Plant’s Spiro Drossos said the four-bedroom house at 68 Bourke St sold to a local family who had scared off another three registered bidders with a single bid $75,000 above reserve.
“They came out of the blue and just made a $1.8 million bid, and that stopped the auction in its tracks,” Mr Drossos said.
An auction at 92 Page St, Albert Park soared $1 million past its reserve in a $9.01 million result via Greg Hocking Holdsworth.
The five-bedroom house features a tower and is a few blocks from the beach.
Meanwhile, a two-bedroom unit at 2/5 Fawkner St, Westmeadows expected to sell for less than $400,000 shot past the $500,000 mark.
Ray White’s Phillip Mercieca said while five homebuyer hopefuls had attended, only a pair of first-home buyers had the chance to bid as the fast-paced auction rocketed from a $350,000 opening offer, past the $390,000 reserve and up to $521,000.
“There was a bit of a feeling (from the buyers) that if we miss this, when is the next one going to come up,” Mr Mercieca said.
Some vendors also met with success after bringing auction plans forward.
A two-bedroom apartment in Port Melbourne sold $90,000 above its reserve for $715,000 after the auction was held on March 18, ten days ahead of the planned date on March 28.
RT Edgar Albert Park’s Simon Graf said four bidders emerged and downsizers won the keys.
“We were only two weeks into the campaign. But I told the owner we’d had a strong start,” Mr Graf said.
“All the buyers we were dealing with were in the right mind frame to buy.”
Live-stream auction service Gavl also reported strong numbers, noting a 200 per cent increase in traffic online in the past fortnight and that they had observed a 38 per cent dip in physical crowd numbers.