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Australian property auctions are flourishing

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Low interest rates and high property prices are pushing potential buyers to look towards auction houses in order to buy property in Australia, with major cities in particular proving popular for sales going under the hammer.

The market conditions are being cited as the reason for near record numbers of homes being sold at auction. Two-thirds of homes offered during February and March in Sydney were by public auction, the biggest figures for the last two years.

According to Australian Property Monitors, Melbourne, which has proven to be the second biggest city for home auctions, saw auctions responsible for almost 70% of house sales in the same period, which is the highest figure since May 2010.

Auction clearance rates reached 74% last month, compared to the same time in 2012 when they stood at 49%, confirming the strength of the auction market.

The housing sector is being influenced by the strong performance of sales by auction, and house prices are now rising with Sydney seeing an increase of 1.6% in the first quarter of 2013.

This means that the average price of a house in the city now stands at $672,681, or £447,371. The increase is the second consecutive quarter to show a rise and equates to an average increase of $30,000 over the past six months alone.

Australian Property Monitors says that the figures are "remarkable" when it comes to their strength and consistency and they represent the best start to a year since 2010.

Long seen as a favourite for British buyers, Australian property is now seeing interest from other EU nationals as well an increase in activity from Asian investors.

Transferring money abroad means navigating the international money markets. It is worth remembering that the exchange rates offered by banks are often worse than those available through specialist currency exchange firms.

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