Footy's over so house sellers take a punt
THIS weekend will be the most significant test of Melbourne's property market since the heady days of the property boom in 2010, industry insiders say.
Up to 1180 homes are expected to be auctioned over the next two days as the city gears up for its biggest ''super Saturday'' in two years.
The rush of homes for sale is the result of hundreds of owners hanging an auction flag outside their property after the AFL grand final was played four weeks ago.
Owners are also trying to squeeze in a sale before next week's Melbourne Cup carnival when the number of auctions will fall to about 150.
''Everybody thinks they can't have open-for-inspections on grand final day so they put their home up for sale afterwards,'' Biggin & Scott director Russell Cambridge said.
Auction clearance rates - the proportion of homes sold at auction - have stayed above 60 per cent on five of the past 10 weekends, suggesting stronger interest from home buyers during the traditional spring selling period.
As well, a cut in official interest rates earlier this month and signs that house prices have turned around from the falls suffered earlier this year, are also encouraging vendors, agents say.
But buyers remain wary and are inclined to save rather than spend, a habit that is showing up in the record low numbers of property transactions this year.
''This weekend will tell us if the improved demand at auctions compared to spring last year is a positive shift,'' the Real Estate Institute of Victoria's Robert Larocca said.
''It's going to be the most significant test of Melbourne's market since 2010.''
Data released yesterday shows home prices have been flat around the country.
Melbourne's prices rose 0.8 per cent while Sydney's were down slightly in the three months to September, Fairfax-owned analysts Australian Property Monitors reported.
A surge in the number of apartments being built in Melbourne has hurt unit prices. They fell for the sixth consecutive quarter.
By contrast, recent figures from analysts RP Data show a 3 per cent jump in Melbourne's home prices. The REIV also records prices rising slightly in the same period.
Year-to-date clearance rates show just how patchy the market is.
Inner northern suburbs such as Fitzroy North, Collingwood and Fairfield are performing strongly, with a clearance rate around 76 per cent.
Others such as Albert Park, St Kilda West and Aberfeldie are struggling, with a clearance rate below 48 per cent, according to the REIV.
''We've had the one of lowest levels of supply for this time of the year that we've had for quite some time,'' Nelson Alexander director Arch Staver said.
''We're seeing more buyers out there, which I must confess is a bit of surprise. We thought sentiment was a bit on the flat side.''
Mr Cambridge said the first weekend in December, four weeks after the Melbourne Cup weekend, was already shaping up to be another super Saturday.
The two super Saturdays seen so far this year are no match for the seven similar weekends recorded at the height of the market in 2010.