Families desperate to buy before house prices rise even further have resorted to knocking on doors in locked-down Melbourne to circumvent the state’s ban on inspections.
This is according to the country’s biggest real estate agency, Ray White, who noted the trend as two out of five auctions in Melbourne were withdrawn over the past week by nervous vendors, exacerbating already low listings levels, fuelled by previous lockdowns.
CoreLogic figures show auction clearance rates rose to 72.3 per cent this week on a preliminary basis as 1591 homes were taken to auction across the combined capital cities, up from 1423 over the previous week.
Led by an 83.8 per cent clearance rate in Sydney, where 668 auctions were held (up from 607 the previous week), the national clearance rate was well up on the 67.3 per cent figure recorded last week.
In Melbourne, auction numbers were also higher, 510 versus 430 last week. However, of the 320 results collected so far, 42.5 per cent were withdrawn, CoreLogic said.
Ray White Victoria and Tasmania chief executive Stephen Dullens said “red-hot demand” from buyers and an extended ban on inspections in Melbourne (in contrast to Sydney where private one-on-one appointments are allowed) was starting to create unforeseen issues.
“With the lockdowns in Melbourne continuing to extend, we’re seeing more and more customers becoming desperate with an urgent need to buy, sell or lease property,” Mr Dullens said.
“Across the industry, concerningly, we are seeing more and more examples of customers taking matters into their own hands.
“We have many examples where prospective buyers have knocked on the door or written notes to sellers, pleading for access to their homes. This occurs after being advised by the sales agent that an inspection isn’t possible.”
Mr Dullens said this led to the risk of the creation of an unregulated environment.
“An environment where surfaces aren’t cleaned, social distancing isn’t maintained and contact tracing isn’t possible, presents a substantial health risk to the community,” he said.
Highlighting the heightened demand and limited opportunities to buy, more than half of homes due to go under the hammer in Sydney and Melbourne this week sold prior to auction.
This included a renovated five-bedroom period home at 11 Wolseley Road, Mosman – owned by Minter Ellison partner Tony Berriman and his wife Stephanie – which sold for $10.6 million on Friday through Tim Foote of Belle Property Mosman.
In Alexandria in the inner south, a four-bedroom townhouse set a suburb record when it sold for $4.16 million, nearly 15 per cent above the price guide of $3.3 million-$3.63 million.
Selling agent Chris Nunn of BresicWhitney said the buyer inspected the property at 83 Buckland Street for the first time on Wednesday morning and agreed to buy it the same day.
“It’s unlikely an owner is ever going to sell a property without a chance to test the market unless it’s a price that’s too good to refuse,” Mr Nunn said.
Across the smaller markets where inspections and on-site auctions are permitted, Adelaide was the best performing this week with a preliminary auction clearance rate of 88.1 per cent, according to CoreLogic, followed by Canberra (69.4 per cent), Brisbane (68.1 per cent) and Perth (63.6 per cent).
Among the results, a renovated five-bedroom Queenslander at 17 Boston Street, Clayfield, in Brisbane’s inner north sold for $3.525 million on Saturday – the highest auction result in Brisbane over the past week, according to Domain. Tony Mower and Jo Mower from Havig & Jackson were the selling agents.
Ray White recorded a 96 per cent clearance rate in Queensland over the past week – the highest in 20 years, its Queensland chief auctioneer Gavin Croft said.
“Bucking the trend that we’ve seen in the last few weeks is that local owner-occupiers are back in full force, counteracting that trend of southern buyers and investors snapping up property in our local markets,” Mr Croft said.
As an example, a three-bedroom home at 22 Chandler Street, Acacia Ridge, in the southern suburbs was bought by an owner-occupier couple, after it sold under the hammer for $639,000 – $69,000 above reserve.
There with 15 registered bidders and six active bidders, Ray White Annerley listing agent Bevin Powell said.
“It would have to be a record for a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home in that suburb,” Mr Powell said.
In the Sovereign Islands gated community on the northern Gold Coast, a five-bedroom home at 35 Brittanic Crescent that was due to go to auction on September 28 sold for $4.8 million, having previously sold for $3.25 million in November 2017.
The sale was brokered by Ray White’s Edin Kara.