Pre-Easter auctions to crack the 1,000 Super Saturday offerings for first time in both Sydney and Melbourne

Pre-Easter auctions to crack the 1,000 Super Saturday offerings for first time in both Sydney and Melbourne
Pre-Easter auctions to crack the 1,000 Super Saturday offerings for first time in both Sydney and Melbourne

There's 845 houses and units up for auction across Sydney this weekend.

But the pre-Easter crescendo will be a record 1,087 offerings on Saturday week, 12 April by Sydney vendors.

Australian Property Monitors research analyst Clinton McNabb has advised that this weekend's 845 offerings is some 88% higher than the same weekend last year. And next week's tally is 190% up!

The last Sydney record auction bonanza was the 970 offering on 14 December in the lead up to Christmas 2013.

So it will the busiest Sydney Saturday on record, with official records being compiled since Australian Property Monitors started keeping the data in the late 1980s when Sydney was only just beginning to take a shine to onsite auction with the lead from the trend setter Andrew Gibbons agency.

The long mooted possibility that Sydney will break the 1,000 auction barrier for the first time comes at a time when auction clearance rates remain at very strong levels on the back of buyer demand.

The initial Saturday figures from APM have been running at 80% for nine consecutive weeks, but typically revised down to a worthy 75% to 77% range after final results have been tallied.

Melbourne has 1,010 auctions this weekend according to APM, with 1,240 on 12 April. Last Saturday was its third above 1,000 this year, so that's no news for them.

And late last year Melbourne had three consecutive weekends with auction numbers over 1,300 from 30 November to 14 December.

It's not just auction activity, but the normally slower private treaty is turning over nicely nationally across the capital cities especially. 

While the resource-rich areas may have come off their peak, transaction numbers were still strong according to Ray White chairman Brian White whose offices exchanged contracts during March of a record $3.1 billion. Craig Pontey tells me from Ray White Double Bay that his office sold $119 million of it.

Interestingly while much of the headline buzz has been around Sydney, Brian White noted Melbourne's upwards trajectory, with little correction since the 2009-2010 peaks, which was evident when RP Data-Rismark's latest figures came out earlier this week.

But every time the market builds up and then has time to pause comes with it the potential of a shift in market sentiment, either slowing or picking up.

I forecast the 2013-2014 Christmas break could trigger a market sentiment cooling - that was that house prices would rise at around half last year's 15% escalation - but I have to admit there's been no stopping the momentum from the early February offerings through to Easter.

Of course not all sales are stellar and some are still below where they were three or four years ago, but certainly there has been a remarkable increase in confidence and buying activity. So many auction reports of disappointed registered underbidders after interest rate cuts jet-fuelled the market that had been somewhat in hibernation following the global financial crisis.

Dr Andrew Wilson, the senior economist for Australian Property Monitors who was among the leading bullish forecasters over recent years when the market was full of naysayers, forecast 2014 price growth in Sydney would be about half last year with the bulk of it will happening in the first six months.

The most bullish convert was SQM Research's managing director Louis Christopher whose predictions was for price rises in Sydney of 15 to 20% and national increases.

So whatever the level of price growth, there's not much on the horizon to send prices backwards. Higher unemployment hasn't hurt yet.

Harry Triguboff says apartment prices in some areas would fall 10% to 15% if Chinese buyers stopped.

Though I'd suggest not in the insular Sutherland Shire where former rugby league footballer and media personality Darryl Brohman joined the weekend scrum purchasing in Woolooware Bay, the complex developed by Bluestone on land owned by the Cronulla Sutherland Leagues Club.

It sold another $80 million worth of property on Saturday - with prices ranging from $485,000 for a one-bedroom, from $700,000 for a two-bedroom and from $1.01M for a three-bedroom apartment - following its successful exchange of over $100  million of property within eight hours at the beginning of February through Colliers.

Of course something might always emerge from left field.

Indeed Rod Cornish, a division director of Macquarie Capital and a long-time follower of property cycles, told the AFR's Robert Harley today that "until we see rates rise to a tipping point level, we don’t see a downturn in prices.”

“We will get that, but I don’t think that is a 2014 story. We will not see the tipping point till 2015 or 2016,” Cornish estimates.

And for those who want something to do Easter Saturday, rather than suffer withdrawal symptoms?

Well there's the auction of the landmark Point Lonsdale cottage, Samarai, one of the most charming beachfront reserve property’s along the Victorian Coast.

Imagine all the sea changers who love the 1998 ABC series who will be wanting to snap it up.

The Ramsay family's Edwardian home (pictured below) is set on 1,100 square metres, last sold in the mid-1980s I seem to recollect when bought from the Wortley's for around $240,000. 

It's been offered through Damian Cayzer at Kerleys Coastal Real Estate who could easily expect $3.5 million plus.

Pre-Easter auctions to crack the 1,000 Super Saturday offerings for first time in both Sydney and Melbourne

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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