Housing boom still apparent in the northern beaches

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Despite bleak forecasts regarding the end of the property boom, buyer interest has remained strong for properties in the northern beaches, with some open homes seeing 40 buyers at inspections.

"It has been a very strong market this year," said Ian Brown, selling agent from Cunninghams Real Estate. "We had a dip late last year into Christmas and I think this year surprised a few people."

According to Domain Group, there were a third fewer homes for sale on the northern beach this March than a year ago, and the low supply led to the thriving of the auction market. The northern beaches auctions had a clearance rate of 76.9 per cent last March.

"We shouldn't be surprised if the higher clearance rates translate into higher prices," said Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson.

The decline in the number of house listings could be attributed to a combination of stagnating wage growth and homeowners choosing to renovate rather than sell. There was also little migration from the northern beaches into other suburbs, thanks to the desirable beach lifestyle.

"There was always going to be a time when stamp duty got too big for the market and that time has arrived," said selling agent Robert Simeon from Richardson & Wrench. "Homeowners are looking at alternatives where, in the current market, renovating is the most viable alternative."

Still, Wilson pointed out that strong buyer interest in the northern beaches just might be "the last gasp of the boom."

"I wouldn't be surprised if we started seeing auction clearance rates tracking under 70 per cent through the winter," he said.

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