"I think the sale prices reflected both the great location of the properties as well as the quality renovation work carried out by the couples."
The Block South Melbourne – prime locations are great assets to own even in less certain times: John McGrath
John McGrath, the leading estate agent and The Block room judge, says the weekend results were a signal that Australians see quality real estate in prime locations as great assets to own "even in less certain times."
"It appears that there was strong interest from both investors and owner-occupiers, which is what we have been seeing across the board.
"With interest rates lowering and many alternate asset classes far more volatile than bricks and mortar, investors have been re-emerging in larger numbers on the residential property scene over the last few months," McGrath says.
McGrath, a three decade-plus veteran, has been associated with the The Block series since its 2003 inception.
"The Block 2012 auctions were a great success," he says.
"I think the sale prices reflected both the great location of the properties as well as the quality renovation work carried out by the couples.
"Whilst the show is a great marketing tool for the sale process, we are still talking about real buyers paying hard earned money for the privilege of ownership, so I believe they reflect a genuinely successful renovation and sale process.
"Having buyers write out cheques for such large sums of money is probably the best acid test of any reality television scenario.
"The bidding was extremely strong at higher than anticipated levels," he says.
He notes the reserves were set by an independent valuer and "as we now all know, were well and truly surpassed."
"Whilst I don't think this is an indicator that the Melbourne or Australian market is back to its boom levels, I think it is a very real and very clear signal that Australians see quality real estate in prime locations as great assets to own even in less certain times."
The Australian Property Monitors senior economist, Dr Andrew Wilson, suggest the results showed that Melbourne's inner-city housing market was ''alive and well''.
Dr Wilson tweeted before the auction there were "good news for the prospects of the Block ..... South Melbourne May quarter median house price $1,097,500 +15% since February and +7% since November 2011 ."