Number of auctions surges to 944 amid strong selling conditions

Melbourne's auction market resumed business as usual on Saturday after the previous weekend's AFL grand final pause and continued to provide positive results for most sellers.

Melbourne reported a solid clearance rate of 74.3 per cent at the weekend, lower than the 79.3 per cent recorded over the previous holiday long weekend and also below the 79.8 per cent reported over the same weekend last year.

Saturday auction numbers were predictably significantly higher than the small number listed over the previous weekend with 944, although slightly lower than the 966 auctioned over the same weekend last year.

Auction numbers will rise steadily over coming weekends until the pause in activity for the Melbourne Cup long weekend in a month. More than 1000 auctions are scheduled next Saturday in Melbourne.

Melbourne recorded a median auction price of $750,000 on Saturday, lower than the $800,000 reported over the previous weekend and also 6.3 per cent lower than the $800,000 recorded over the same weekend last year.

A total of $353.5 million of property was reported sold at auction in Melbourne at the weekend.

Low mortgage rates continue to be a driving force for the Melbourne housing market with the Reserve Bank predictably deciding to keep rates on hold over October at last week's meeting. Official rates have now been on hold at the current record low of 1.5 per cent since August last year, with the clear prospect they will remain steady for the foreseeable future.

The national economy remains perplexing for policymakers despite some improvements recently in full-time jobs growth, a steady unemployment rate and a slight improvement to the federal budget bottom line. Chronically subdued incomes growth and low inflation despite an improved jobs market are challenging the orthodoxy of current macroeconomic policy.

Latest national retail sales data reflects low income growth, with the ABS reporting a decline of 0.6 per cent over August seasonally adjusted, which was the sharpest monthly decline since September 2010. The August result was also the second consecutive month of falling sales for the first time since July 2011. National retail sales have now been flat or fallen over five of the past nine months.

And all states and territories recorded falls in retail sales over August with Victoria down sharply by 0.8 per cent.

The latest weak retail sales data together with sharply lower home building approvals - and an intractably high dollar - points to an economy in need of more stimulus with predictions of higher interest rates increasingly fanciful.

Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs remain top regional performers and recorded the highest clearance rate at the weekend, with another strong 80.9 per cent result. Next highest was the western suburbs and also another consistent performer with 79.1 per cent, followed by the inner south 78.6 per cent, the north 77.8 per cent, the north-east 77.4 per cent, the inner east higher this weekend at 72.3 per cent, the outer east 69.9 per cent and the inner city with a clearance rate of 64.2 per cent.

Notable sales reported at the weekend included:

The most expensive property reported sold at auction was a four-bedroom home at 9 Auburn Road, Hawthorn, sold for $3,220,000 by WHITEFOX Real Estate. The most affordable property reported sold at the weekend was a one-bedroom unit at 10/56 Milan Street, Mentone, sold for $275,000 by Hodges.

The story Number of auctions surges to 944 amid strong selling conditions first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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