Auction rates have improved but the effects of tighter lending still persist.

The past week has seen an improvement in clearance rate across the combined capital cities, figures from CoreLogic reveal.

Last week's clearance rate hit 60.6%, a significant improvement from roughly 52% rate seen over the past three weeks. This came as auction volumes increased slightly to 1,246 homes.

However, industry watchers and experts say auctions would have reflected a stronger performance if not for tightened lending restrictions from the banks.

"The banks are very nervous about lending at the moment, it is a very intricate situation and that is reflecting on clearance rates," Ray White New Farm agent Hamish Bowman told Williams Media.

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This is very apparent in Brisbane, where clearance rate improved but still remained below 50%. Over the past week, only 91 homes went under the hammer, registering a clearance rate of 44.8%.

"With the tightening in the banking sector, it is very important for buyers to get their financing in order before they get involved with the buying process. Our number one question to buyers isn't 'what are you looking for', it is 'are you pre-approved' – without being pre-approved buyers are unsure whether or not they can participate in the process, particularly if they want to go after a property they like," Bowman said.

Of all the cities, Melbourne was the busiest, with 612 homes going under the hammer. This reflects a clearance rate of 62.3%, a huge improvement from last week's 56.2%. However, this is still significantly below the 73.8% clearance rate Melbourne recorded during the same week last year.

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Real Estate Institute of Victoria CEO Gil King noted that the inner Melbourne suburbs have been stronger than any other part of the city, recording a clearance rate of 66%.

"St Kilda East has been a star performer in the winter market and this trend continued over the weekend with all three listings cleared. So far this winter, St Kilda East has maintained a strong clearance rate of 96 per cent from 25 auctions," King told Williams Media.

Sydney also reported an improvement, thanks to the stellar sales of affordable apartments. The city held 400 auctions over the weekend and reporting a clearance rate of 61.3%.

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