This time last year Melbourne’s clearance rate was 71 per cent and Sydney’s 62 per cent.

The top performing city was Adelaide, with a clearance rate of 55 per cent. About 55 per cent of apartments sold compared to 51 per cent of apartments.

A three-bedroom, 3.5 bathroom apartment in Cremorne, six kilometres north-east of Sydney, was sold for its reserve price of $2 million at an auction attended by about 50 people and two bidders. The successful buyer was an upgrader.

Matthew Smythe, co-principal of Belle Property said it had 125 groups through the property.

Clearance rates rose on lower volumes for holiday weekend across much of the nation.  

Less stock, more competition

“Less stock is generating competition among buyers. While not frenzied auctions, they are competitive. Many properties are also selling prior to auction,” Mr Symthe said.

The top selling weekend property was a four-bedroom, two-storey family house at 20 Larkin Street, Waverton, also in Sydney, which sold for $6.1 million.

Lenders are stepping up their efforts to encourage buyers back into the market and demonstrate their commitment to the mortgage broker network, which accounts for about 59 per cent of sales.

NAB and Suncorp are both launching marketing campaigns intended to strengthen their links to brokers following the Hayne commission controversy about broker commissions and client responsibility.

For example, NAB is launching an advertising campaign titled: “The Bank Behind the Broker”, while Suncorp’s head of bank intermediaries, Mark Vilo, has written to brokers restating its commitment.

“We’re in this together,” he claims in the letter.

In addition, lenders are improving their offers for new borrowers that meet strict lending criteria.

No-deposit loans

For example, boutique Granite Home Loans is offering a 100 per cent loan to university educated professionals employed in the same industry for three years.

The maximum loan value is $1 million, the initial interest rate is 6.5 per cent and there is a $3500 establishment fee and no annual fee.

NAB is offering a discounted 3.79 per cent rate for borrowers with a deposit of 20 per cent or more, and 3.99 per cent for a deposit of less than 20 per cent. It is also offering several fixed rate deals for new owner occupier and residential investment borrowers. The bank recently hiked its standard variable rate.

Virgin Money, the popular niche lender owned by Bank of Queensland that recently raised some rates by 20 basis points, is doubling Velocity Points for borrowers with a deposit of at least 10 per cent. They will receive 2000 points for every $10,000 drawn at settlement.

Other lenders to cut rates for new borrowers include Citi, AMP Bank and Teachers Mutual Bank.

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