The big city auction market has “shot back to life” with a record bid of $23.25 million for a mansion on Sydney Harbour and higher clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne, injecting some optimism among sellers for the first time in months.

The change in sentiment came as the overall auction market also had its first key test with volumes across all capital cities rising above 2,000 for the first time this year. There were 2,303 homes taken to auction last weekend with a clearance rate of 54%, according to CoreLogic. In the previous week, 1,450 auctions were held with a 51% clearance rate.

Sydney’s preliminary clearance rate was 59%, up from a final result of 55% in the previous week, and in Melbourne, the clearance rate edged up to 53% from a final result of 52% the previous week. Brisbane and Canberra also saw a rise in clearance rates week-on-week.

CoreLogic says this marks the third week in a row where the clearance rate was above 50%, an improvement given the weekly auction clearance rate had been stuck at or below 42% for five weeks at the end of last year.