The depth of buyer demand will be tested next month. Photo: Josh Robenstone
THE number of properties going to auction in the next couple of weeks is set to increase dramatically with 690 scheduled for next weekend and 750 for the weekend before the grand final.
But the real test of the market is likely to come next month when a sustained run of higher volumes will reveal the depth of buyer demand and vendor realism.
REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said the number of properties that have gone to auction is 19 per cent lower than last year.
Last weekend, the second of the highly-anticipated spring property market, retained many of the bleak qualities of winter: cold winds and rain and low levels of patchy quality stock going to auction.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria declared a 61 per cent clearance rate from 466 auction results, only slightly lower than last weekend's 62 per cent and much better than the 55 per cent recorded at the same time in 2011.
In contrast, there were 512 private sales.
While 182 properties passed in at the weekend, 118 of them were passed in on vendor bids. Passing a property in on a vendor bid can be a tactical move, which means agents can negotiate with all interested parties. It can also mean there are no bidders interested in a property, or none who is keen to make a public move.
Yesterday at Mount Eliza, Aqua director Michelle Skoglund passed in a cliffside mansion at 11 Pelican Place with a vendor bid of $2.6 million.
Ms Skoglund said there was a later bid of $2.7 million for the nine-room 100-square property, which was being sold by the mortgagee-in-possession, the Bank of Queensland.
''It was a big turnout and we had seven registered bidders so I expect it to sell in the next day or two,'' Ms Skoglund said.
Title deeds show the house was owned by Carolyn Long, a shareholder in plumbing company Eliza Holdings (Vic), which is under administration and in the process of being wound up by liquidators.
The house was last for sale in 2007 for more than $4.2 million. It was built in the mid-1990s by Ahmad Jamshidi and includes a swimming pool and tennis court.
In East Brighton, Kay & Burton director Stewart Lopez sold 1D Regent Street in Brighton after auction for $2 million after only one potential buyer bid at auction.
''That's an interesting example of what happens at an auction at the moment. We got into protracted negotiations with a second buyer, who wasn't at the auction, but who said 'Let us know if it passes in','' Mr Lopez said.
It eventually sold to the highest bidder at the auction, he said.
Mr Lopez said the auction system is playing an increasingly small part at the high end of the property market.
''The majority of our sales are private sales and many of them don't get reported.''
He said vendors want to keep their results out of the public eye.
''Our office has sold five houses in the last two weeks for between $2 million and $5 million. There is activity at the moment. Things are happening but they are underground,'' he said.
Down on the Surf Coast, Ian Lewtas, from Anglesea agency Allpoints, passed in a beach house at 52 Aireys Street, Aireys Inlet, on a vendor bid of $650,000.
The house, from a deceased estate, is on 6000 square metres. It sold after the auction for an undisclosed amount.
''It's a buyer's market at the moment. We are coming out of a very tough winter,'' Mr Lewtas said.
''It's been a pretty tough six months on the coast. People have got other properties to sell and while they want to buy down here, they have to wait for them to sell.''