'Keeping its head above water': Sydney clearance rate up slightly

The Sydney housing market is keeping its head above water, with auction sales on the weekend yielding the best result since September 9.

Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson said after trending down, the market has now held its own over the past three weeks.

Auction data collected by the Domain Group on Saturday revealed a city-wide clearance rate of 70.4 per cent from a relatively small number of 368 reported auctions.

There are other signs that conditions are stabilising with agents reporting a decline in buyer activity, which is putting pressure on the asking prices of some properties.

"It is tougher," said EE Real Estate Alexandria director Poh Ling Ee after selling a four-bedroom house in Annandale at auction with the participation of just one bidder.

The property, at 40 Alfred Street, sold for $1.95 million, slightly above the $1.9 million guide price.

Ms Poh said she had appraised the home as being worth less than $2 million and that was the verdict delivered by the market.

"The prices are still OK," she said. "You just have a lot less buyers, but if the owners are realistic, there will always be a buyer."

In addition to the 368 reported auctions on Saturday, the results of a further 244 scheduled auctions were not reported by agents. Even so, Saturday's result was the highest recorded clearance rate by the Sydney market since the beginning of spring.

Big-ticket sales reported at the weekend included a three-bedroom unit at 3/22A Queenscliff Road, Queenscliff, which was sold by Clarke and Humel Property for $4 million. Another three-bedroom unit at 19/2-14 Pacific Street, Bronte, made $3,450,000 through Phillips Pantzer Donnelley.

Meanwhile, a three-bedroom home at 94 Majors Bay Road, Concord, was sold by Strathfield Partners for $3,392,000, and a five-bedroom home at 108 Beresford Road, Strathfield, sold for $3 million through Devine Real Estate.

A house that sold for close to its $1.7 million asking price was a 1950s home at 3 Coronation Street, Mona Vale.

Belle Property Mona Vale principal Kevin Packham said the "time-warp" dwelling on an 844-square-metre block was bought for $1.76 million by an owner-occupier who planned to retain the existing house but open up its interior.

The property, a few minutes' walk to Warriewood and Mona Vale beaches, had five registered bidders, four of whom bid on the day.

Mr Packham said the market had become fairer in recent months as activity had levelled off. "People are taking a little more time to make decisions," he added.

At the weekend, the inner west recorded the highest clearance rate of the Sydney regions with 78 per cent. It was followed by the lower north at 76.6 per cent, while the city and east and the south each recorded 75 per cent.

The next cab off the rank was the northern beaches at 74.4 per cent; then came the upper north shore at 73.7 per cent, Canterbury Bankstown at 71.4 per cent, the north-west at 69.6 per cent, the central coast at 57.1 per cent, the south-west at 55.6 per cent and the west with a clearance rate of 43.9 per cent.

Dr Wilson said the inner west had been a very robust market for much of the past five years but had seen clearance rates fall in recent weeks. However, the region's return to health this weekend may have helped underpin the broader market.

The most expensive house reported sold at auction on Saturday was a three-bedroom home at 10 Wren Place, Burraneer. The property, offering excellent water views, sold for $5,020,000 through Highland Property Agents.

The reviving Sydney market will face a major stress test next weekend when more than 1000 homes are set to go to auction.

This story 'Keeping its head above water': Sydney clearance rate up slightly first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.