What housing crash?

Auction clearance rates for the weekend suggest the property market doesn’t care much about reputations of those that might disparage it.

According to CoreLogic RP Data, clearance rates have returned to normal levels, with Victoria seeing a rate of 71% and New South Wales 69% from 1,218 and 684 scheduled auctions respectively.

Domain senior economist Andrew Wilson says Melbourne was ‘settling into a mid-70% market’ that was very even. “It’s also very even between most of the Melbourne regions – the inner south stood out last week but not by much.

That’s different to Sydney, with Domain reporting a relatively low number of auctions for this time of year. 2,412 auctions have been listed over the past 6 weekends – 24% lower than the 3,001 over the same period last year.

Domain also says that there are stark differences emerging, with auction results in Sydney’s outer suburbs, particularly the west, remaining a drag on city-wide clearance rates.

Western Sydney had clearance rates of 52.2%, compared to 86.4% for the lower North Shore and 83.7% for the Northern beaches.

Inner Sydney is ‘on fire’ according to agent Richard Simeon, telling Fairfax Media, “I’m not getting any negative feedback from any buyers at all“. He added, “I think while there is a shorter supply, at the same time there is historical low-interest rates and a low Australian dollar then [buyers] will continue to compete aggressively.

New developments appear to be selling like hot cakes. Fairfax reports that developer Toga Group sold 80% of its new 192-apartment residential tower in Macquarie Park in Sydney’s north within 4 hours of launching. More than 50% of the buyers were owner-occupiers – although there was no news on how many were overseas buyers.

Many Chinese prefer not to rent out their properties and don’t worry much about missing out on the rental income – which can see some developments virtually empty of tenants. Some are used occasionally as a home away from home, for business purposes or for their children to live in while they study in Australia. Others are purely for investment purposes because the overseas buyers want to invest in Australia.

Foolish takeaway

It seems that yet another property price crash doomsayer will likely end up with egg on their face given the weekend’s results. The imminent crash of Australian property appears to have been greatly exaggerated.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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