There have been 4000 fewer auctions this year than at the same time last year – but about the same number of properties changed hands.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria spokesman Robert Larocca said there had been a shift in the way houses were being sold.
“Due to the lower level of demand, more sellers and their estate agents are choosing to sell by private sale this year,” he said.
The REIV estimates 43,000 homes were sold in Melbourne in the first seven months of 2012, slightly fewer than the 44,570 at same time last year.
But more people are also staying put, amid concerns about falling house prices, job losses and economic conditions overseas.
Mr Larocca said the number of properties sold this year is down 24 per cent on the same time in 2010 and 29 per cent on 2009.
“In essence, sales volumes in 2011 and 2012 are at a low point when compared to every year since 2000,” Mr Larocca said.
A week before the start of the spring selling season, Mr Larocca said just 20 per cent of property sold this year would be at auction.
“This is not surprising and it is a trend repeated whenever Melbourne has a flat year,” he said.
Barry Plant chief executive Mike McCarthy said there had been a shift away from auctions.
“When the auction clearance rate is lower, there is a natural tendency for sellers to think twice before automatically going to auction,” he said.
“On many occasions, an auction process is still the best option, however, well-planned private sale campaigns are also yielding excellent results in this market without the stress of a public auction that may or may not sell on the day.”
Melbourne’s auction clearance rate so far this year is 60 per cent.
REIV data shows Hampton East has Melbourne’s best clearance rate so far this year, with more than eight out of 10 homes selling under the hammer.
Central Ballarat’s auction market is also performing well, with a clearance rate of more than 80 per cent.
There are 550 auctions scheduled in Melbourne this weekend and 480 next weekend.
Source: Nicola Webber, Herald Sun, August 25, 2012