Super Saturday lacks sizzle in sluggish property market

Vince Chadwick -Apr 1, 2012

Melbourne real estate's super Saturday has failed to jump start the sluggish property market with clearance rates hovering only just above average.

According to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, 1006 properties went under the hammer yesterday, the last weekend before the school holidays and Easter.

Sixty per cent of the 873 reported so far were sold, compared with 59 per cent last weekend.

One successful sale was a renovated Victorian Italianate house in Grandview Grove, Prahran, which fetched $4.57 million.

The 918-square-metre, four-bedroom house was home to 1988 Olympic bronze medal canoeist turned stockbroker Peter Foster, his wife Lysette, and their three children.

Auctioneer Jeremy Fox said the property was going to be listed at $4.5 million.

"We got a bit more so I reckon it was a good result."

One observer who has been looking to buy close to her daughters' school said the Fosters should be happy with the result.

"It's great, but this property is very unique," she said.

"If you've got land on a good street, there's no problem selling but you still need a good property - if it's average, then you are struggling".

REIV spokesman Robert Larocca said the market was tightly balanced, with enough demand for properties to sell provided vendors reined in expectations.

"The interesting thing so far this year is no matter what the stock level has been we’ve had a clearance rate consistently at around 60 per cent," he said.

Mr Fox tried to reassure buyers with the prospect of the Reserve Bank, which meets again on Tuesday, cutting interest rates.

"I've got the feeling things are starting to pick up," he told the crowd. "There's confidence coming back".

However, analysts such as HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham are tipping the Reserve will hold rates steady before cutting later in the year.

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