The clearance rate for Melbourne auctions in 2011 was 56%.
It compared with 71% in 2010, 81% in 2009 and 63% in 2008, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria.
The highest clearance rate in any week was 65% in the week ending March 13 and the lowest was 49% in the week ending November 20, says REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo.
There were about 28,800 auctions throughout the year. The number exceeded the number held in both 2009 and 2008 but was fewer than 2010, when there were 32,497 residential auctions across Melbourne.
The total value of auction sales was $11.6 billion compared with $16.8 billion in 2010, $12.1 billion in 2009 and $10.2 billion in 2008.
The highest clearance rate was recorded in Wantirna South, where 82% of homes sold. It was followed by Abbotsford, Balaclava, Gladstone Park and Warrandyte as the top five suburbs when ranked by clearance rate.
However Richmond had the most auction activity, with 336 sales at auction and a strong clearance rate of 73%. It was followed by Melbourne, Bentleigh East, Hawthorn and Reservoir as the top five busiest suburbs when ranked by numbers sold.
Four of the properties that went up for auction in Richmond in 2011 were the cottages featured on the reality TV show The Block.