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Melbourne auctions face hiatus as part of non-essential service shutdown

24 March 2020

Melbourne’s weekend auctions could be suspended as part of a state-wide shutdown of non-essential services.

Our clearance rate fell to around 61 per cent on the weekend amid the escalating spread of the coronavirus and it could be a while before we see any more auction action.

Real Estate Institute of Australia president Adrian Kelly spoke to Domain.

“We’re not expecting to see an impact on the values of homes but we will see the number of sales fall as people wait and see what is going to happen,” he said.

“Estate agents are pretty good at adapting in these circumstances.”

One of the best ways agents can look to adapt is by selling property online through private sales and virtual tours of for sale homes.

Domain economist Trent Wiltshire said the market was understandably softer on the weekend.

“Some vendors needing to sell have likely accepted lower prices than they would have a few weeks ago because of the very uncertain outlook,” he told Domain.

“Melbourne’s final clearance rate will end up in the high 50 per cent range, which is more than 10 percentage points below what it was in February.”

“The clearance rate is still higher than this time last year, but it’s likely to fall farther over the next few weeks.”

Ray White’s Vito Trentadue told Domain most vendors on the weekend were hesitant.

“Nearly all of our sellers today were hesitant about going to auction and we are trying to keep them all calm,” he said.

“There was definitely a sense of panic buying.”

“Buyers just wanted to ‘buy now’ for a fear of lack of stock coming up,” he said.

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