SIX bidders made a play for a long-time St Kilda share house, just off the Fitzroy strip behind the Prince of Wales Hotel, at the weekend. The double-fronted Victorian terrace at 11 Acland Street fetched $2.74 million - $190,000 over its $2.55 million reserve.
Veteran St Kilda agent Graeme Wilson said the vendor was ''an elderly Italian lady who had worked at Leo's Spaghetti Bar. She lived in the house for about 25 years and then she leased it out - one of the tenants had lived there for 26 years.''
The property, which needs plenty of work, was bought by two young men who plan to renovate and occupy different levels of the house, Mr Wilson said.
Melbourne's overall auction clearance rate came in at a solid 64 per cent on Sunday from 837 reported auctions.
But 194 of the 299 properties that were passed in did so on a vendor bid. A further 142 results are outstanding and will drag the final figure down slightly.
The clearance rate is much improved since last month (59 per cent) and last year (49 per cent), indicating stronger buyer demand and vendor realism about prices.
Most agents and advocates reported increased confidence as the market hits a busy month with more than 900 auctions scheduled every weekend as Christmas approaches.
''The market's OK,'' Mr Wilson said. ''A 64 per cent clearance rate is pretty healthy - it doesn't matter how you sell it. The objective is to sell.
''If we get an interest rate cut in December, that will set things up for next year.''
Further east in Armadale, four out of five properties sold at auction on the weekend.
Marshall White sold a two-bedroom, single-fronted Victorian terrace at 33 Stuart Street for $1.127 million, which was well above its $870,000 reserve.
Buyer's advocate Michael Ramsay said the property was in a great location but ''unliveable'' and would probably need about $600,000 spent on it.
Marshall White director John Bongiorno said it was ''an incredible result''.
''The next month will be big but we're confident there's enough buyers to absorb it. This is a normal market now - not a bull market and not a bad market.''
In Brighton, Nick Johnstone, who sold the top house of the week at 9 Tennyson Street in Brighton for just over $3.3 million, was cautiously optimistic. He declined to confirm the price but told BusinessDay: ''Everything we are auctioning, we are selling, even if it's 15 minutes after or the next day. I think things are showing signs of recovery but they're not running away from us.''