IF THERE was any doubt the Gold Coast property market has left its troubled past behind, Australia's biggest residential auction put that to bed over the weekend.
More than $33 million in sales went under the hammer at Ray White Surfers Paradise Group's (RWSP) annual The Event auction on Sunday, up from $20 million a year ago.
Southern investors, looking for a break from the high prices of Sydney and Melbourne, led the way as 45 of 105 properties sold under the hammer.
A further 18 sold prior to auction, boosting the clearance rate for The Event to about 60 per cent.
RWSP chief executive Andrew Bell (pictured) expects negotiations on remaining properties to bring the clearance rate closer to 80 per cent, making it one of the best auction programs for the group in years.
Bell says this year's result is a sign of growing recognition that the Gold Coast has become Australia's value market, setting 2016 up as a big year for the local property industry.
"At the end of the day it comes down to where people are going to get the best return for their money," he says.
"Right now it's not in the bank and it's unlikely to be in shares.
"Almost every property researcher or commentator is backing the Gold Coast as one of the country's top performing markets in 2016.
"Stacked up against Sydney and Melbourne, the Gold Coast is very affordable and because we're still coming off a fairly low base there is more room for capital growth.
"Property investors are responding to this and about 50 per cent of our registered bidders were from interstate.
"The Event is widely regarded as a barometer for the local and even national markets in the year ahead, so this result puts us in good stead."
"The strong clearance rate wasn't surprising, we've had a bumper January on the Gold Coast and with so many holidaymakers here, investor inquiry has been consistently strong."
The auction drew about 2000 people, with more than 300 of them registered bidders.
The biggest sale of the day was $1.2 million for an 875sqm redevelopment site at Biggera Waters, followed by the $1.1 million sale of a hilltop home at 38 Albany Avenue, Currumbin (pictured right).
A Sanctuary Cove home at 4709 The Parkway sold prior to auction for $2 million, while the penthouse at Broadbeach in the Park was passed in at $4 million.
Luxury boats were also in demand as RWSP held its marine division's auction in tandem with The Event. A24-metre luxury yacht sold for $3.1 million, representing the lion's share of $4.7 million in boat sales on the day.
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