Elite Agent

National clearance rate at 67.3 per cent as Melbourne grinds to a halt

This week, the combined capital city preliminary auction clearance rate held firm relative to last week across a lower volume of auctions. This was despite a record slump in Melbourne where the volume plummeted to just 14 properties and the clearance rate struggled to reach 27.3 per cent.

Across the capitals, there were 823 homes taken to auction over the week, down from 866 over the previous week and 1639 this time last year.

Of the 657 results collected so far, 67.3 per cent were successful, roughly equivalent to last week’s preliminary figure of 67.5 per cent which later revised down to 60.5 per cent at final collection.

Over the same week last year, a final clearance rate of 72.8 per cent was reported across the combined capitals.


Auction activity fell to a new record low across Melbourne this week with just 14 homes taken to auction while the city remains in lockdown.

Of the 11 results collected so far, just three were successful (all sold prior to auction), while the remaining eight auction results were reported as withdrawn, dragging the preliminary clearance rate down to 27.3 per cent.

Over the previous week, 28 auctions were held across the city, while this time last year, 826 Melbourne homes were taken to auction.


Sydney was host to 606 auctions this week, similar to last week when 608 auctions were held, although higher than this time last year when 585 homes were taken to auction.

Of the 507 auction results collected so far, 70.4 per cent were successful, up slightly from last week’s preliminary result of 69.5 per cent which revised down to 62.3 per cent at final results.

This time last year, Sydney recorded a final auction clearance rate of 76.0 per cent.

The smaller capitals

Across the smaller markets, Canberra recorded the highest preliminary clearance rate of 83.0 per cent, across 47 auction results, followed by Adelaide with a preliminary clearance rate of 75.9 per cent across 29 results.

Domain results

The impact of continued lockdown in Melbourne was patently obvious in the auction results of Melbourne this weekend, with Domain recording a clearance rate of 0 per cent after just 10 homes were listed.

That saw Sydney driving much of the auction action, hauling the national preliminary clearance rate to a respectable 63.6 per cent.

Domain notes 666 properties were listed for auction across the capitals, with results for 525 properties reported, 334 sales made (to the value of $270.6 million), and 86 withdrawals.

This volume and clearance were higher than the previous week, but less than half the number of properties that were listed in the same week last year.

Last week, Domain reported a clearance rate of 56.6 per cent after 600 properties were listed for auction nationally, 548 results were reported, 310 sales were made (to the value of $225.2 million) and 97 properties were withdrawn.

In the same week last year 1446 properties were listed, 1326 results were provided, 936 sales were made (to the value of $1126.4 million) and 93 properties were withdrawn, for a clearance rate of 70.6 per cent.


As mentioned, Sydney was the star performer this weekend, returning a clearance rate of 64.7 per cent, with volume up on both last week and last year.

The harbour city saw 541 properties listed for auction, 430 results reported, 278 sales made (to the value of $230.2 million) and 74 withdrawals.

Last week, Sydney clocked a clearance rate of 55.7 per cent after 457 properties were listed for auction, 415 results were reported, 231 sales were made (to the value of $174.2 million) and 83 properties were withdrawn.

In the same week last year, Sydney had a clearance rate of 72.9 per cent when 474 properties were listed for auction, 436 results were reported, 318 sales were made (to the value of $461.6 million) and 50 properties were withdrawn.


Melbourne’s results are the worst they have been since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, with the Victorian capital recording a clearance rate of 0 per cent courtesy of harsh restrictions.

This week just 10 properties were listed for auction, results for seven have been reported and just two sales have been made, with their value yet to be tallied. Five properties were withdrawn.

Last week Melbourne had a clearance rate of 33.3 per cent after 17 properties were listed for auction. Results for 12 were reported with four selling (to the value of $0.5 million), and eight were withdrawn.

Last year’s results offer an insight into what could have been. In the same week in 2019, Melbourne notched up a clearance rate of 72.2 per cent after 797 homes were listed for auction, 729 results were reported, 526 sales were made (to the value of $592.1 million) and 28 properties were withdrawn.

Ray White results

Despite the conditions in Melbourne, Ray White says elsewhere the spring seller’s market showed no sign of slowing down.

The Ray White Group booked a strong preliminary clearance rate of 69.5 per cent.

New South Wales

Sydney was the star of the show with a healthy preliminary clearance rate of 72.7 per cent. The leading auction house also saw 5.4 registered and 2.9 active bidders per property, on average.

Ray White New South Wales Chief Auctioneer Alex Pattaro said properties that were heading to auction which were well priced, and in desirable locations, still continued to fire.

“Today we saw some tremendous results with ferocious bidding and a high number of registered bidders rolling into Sydney auctions,” Mr Pattaro said.

“Competition is absolutely paramount. Buyers are exceeding their initial price indications if there’s competition at auction.

“We’re seeing an increased number of Sydney sellers who are looking to relocate to regional parts of New South Wales. Sellers are taking full advantage of the competition and strong prices.

“Open home numbers remain rampant with a strong number of attendees rolling into new-to-market properties. Spring has started off with a bang and we expect to see strong results into the warmer months.”


Ray White Victoria and Tasmania CEO Stephen Dullens said with the Melbourne auction market at almost at a complete standstill this weekend, it left him asking the question, ‘why?’

“While businesses from all industries looked to the Victorian Government last Sunday for guidance on what the reopening of Melbourne looked like, real estate, like many industries, was left disappointed, Mr Dullens said.

“Instead of a gradual opening up from this coming Monday, a six-week extension to the ban on private, one-on-one inspections for potential buyers and tenants was announced.

“This was not what we were expecting, but more importantly, it was not what our customers were expecting.

“We’ve had literally hundreds of customers – sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants – contact us experiencing significant financial and emotional distress on the back of the extended restrictions.

“Members of our community need to transact and some simply do not have the luxury of time. Of course, we fully appreciate the health considerations.

“The industry has shown an ability to adapt and transact in a safe way – be that here in Melbourne under previous stage 3 restrictions, currently in regional Victoria in stage 3 settings or in Sydney, where up to 100 can attend an onsite auction – even with some community transmission.

“Despite all of this, we’re not aware of any virus transmission from any real estate activities anywhere in Australia.

“It has been pleasing to see the Victorian Government open to adjusting some business settings over this weekend – adjustments to beauty services and animal care were announced today.

“As always, we welcome the opportunity to work proactively with the government to find solutions and help those in our community under so much duress, most importantly, in a safe manner.


Ray White Queensland Chief Auctioneer Mitch Peereboom said it had been an exhilarating week of auctions in the Sunshine State.

“Our average number of registered bidders has remained consistent from recent weeks and certainly the clearance rate for September, the start of spring, is tracking ahead of recent months,” Mr Peereboom said.

“There are certainly great and positive indications heading into the end of the year and we’ve had a number of market segments performing beautifully.

“Inner-city apartments, through to prestige properties, through to rural – we’ve had it all this week. A massive shout out to Bruce Douglas and Bill Seeney from Ray White Rural Queensland after their $35,000,000 sale under the hammer on Friday morning.

“Landmark sales like that are absolutely bolstering the confidence that we have with the activity that’s happening in the marketplace. We’re so confident in recommending coming to the market now and with the activity and competition at our auctions, it’s an exciting time.”

Susie O’Neill’s home the highest sale

In the afternoon, Queensland’s “Madame Butterfly” Susie O’Neill sold her 401 Brisbane Corso, Yeronga home under the hammer for $3,055,000 – the preliminary highest sale of the day.

The home was designed by the well-known Harry Poulos Architects firm and featured one of only two elite Fastlane swim machines in Australia.

Ray White New Farm Premium Property Specialist Christine Rudolph sold Ms O’Neill’s home and said the auction had a nail biting finish with only a $5000 bid separating the two parties.

“We had two registered bidders who went toe to toe for the property,” Ms Rudolph said.

“The successful buyers were local medical specialists who were the first buyers to see the house during inspections. It was love at first sight for them as they’d always wanted a waterfront home.

“There were more than 200 groups through the home during the four-week campaign so we had a lot of interest, and that just continues to prove that the Brisbane market is very strong.”

The new owners of the riverside home said they never expected to walk away the winners.

“We’ve been looking for a family home for about six months and had narrowed it down to The Corso because we love the neighbourhood,” they said.

“We’re so happy to be settling there and have already met a few of the neighbours. The children have seen it and they absolutely love it.

As for the pool, the buyers said despite them being a little out of shape, they weren’t planning to let it go to waste.

South Australia

Ray White South Australia Chief Auctioneer John Morris said 23 of the 42 auctions scheduled for this week in South Australia were Ray White.

“Last week we did have a low clearance rate of approximately 50 per cent but we did have the second most amount of auctions that we’ve called this year,” Mr Morris said.

“We’re coming off a month where the clearance rate was above 60 per cent and bidding and registrations remain high at 5.5 per auction.

“Coincidentally, we had 111 auctions in August and we have 111 scheduled for the whole of September.”

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.