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Sydney Auction Clearance, Median Price at 2011 Low, APM Says

Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Sydney’s rate of successful home auctions and median sale price fell to the lowest this year as purchasers at the middle and top ends of the market stayed on the sidelines, according to Australian Property Monitors.

Out of 349 properties that went to auction on Dec. 17, 209 sold, and another 68 were withdrawn before going under the hammer, for a clearance rate of 50 percent, according to the property research group. The median price was A$561,500 ($559,198).

First-time purchasers are making up a larger-than-normal proportion of sales in New South Wales, the nation’s most populous state, before the government there ends tax breaks on Dec. 31 on purchases of existing homes worth up to A$600,000.

“We have an unusual market at the moment, with a lot of energy at the bottom end of the market, counterbalanced by quietness in the rest of the market, because of which the median house price has dropped dramatically,” said Andrew Wilson, Sydney-based senior economist at APM. “We expect a dearth of activity from first-home buyers as a consequence in the first few months of next year.”

The number of properties listed for sale in Sydney climbed 11 percent from a year ago as sellers rushed to dispose of their homes before the end of the year, Wilson said. Melbourne had an auction clearance rate of 45 percent and Brisbane 29 percent, according to APM.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nichola Saminather in Sydney at nsaminather1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at apapuc1@bloomberg.net

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