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Sydney and Melbourne buyers are gobbling up properties as quickly as they can hit the market

Jack Derwin
  • Preliminary auction clearance rates in both Sydney and Melbourne are hovering around 80% after a bumper weekend saw almost 2,000 properties go under the hammer between the two cities.
  • While the final clearance rate figures will come in lower than that, there appears to be far more demand in the property market than 12 months ago.
  • If the current demand continues unabated, prices look set to break 2017 highs.
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Australia's real estate markets continue to heat up.

Almost four out of five properties are selling at auction in Sydney or Melbourne at the moment, as homebuyer appetite continues unabated.

Over the weekend, 82% of Sydney and 79% of Melbourne homes sold at auction, according to Domain's preliminary auction clearance rates.

While the figures are bound to firm up a little lower when they are finalised on Thursday, there's no doubt the market has made a dramatic turnaround. Twelve months ago, a little over half of Melbourne homes sold at auction, while just 61% of Sydney's found a buyer.

Significantly, this weekend saw the highest number of homes for sale since late last year. More than 800 properties in Sydney and more than 1,100 in Melbourne went under the hammer. The figures seem to support Domain's analysis that suggests increasing stock doesn't typically dampen auction appetite. In fact, this weekend's clearance rates are amongst the highest this year.

With clearance rates north of 65% typically associated with modest price growth, rates encroaching on 80% are representative of how these two property markets have heated back up since their declining from their respective 2017 peaks.

Prices in both cities are again rising unrepentantly, fuelled by home buyer demand and perhaps a hint of 'FOMO' – or fear of missing out. Domain has already ambitiously forecast a 10% surge in Sydney and an 8% jump in Melbourne and, indeed, nationally.

As that momentum threatens to send prices over and above their previous highs, home buyers look a little worried.

Sellers, on the other hand, aren't breaking a sweat.