Humble red brick house sells for $830k over reserve in patchy market

A handful of lucky vendors have scored jaw dropping results at auction on what was otherwise a subdued weekend of activity across Sydney.

Agents revealed that expectations of prolonged higher interest rates, plus uncertainty over the prospect of another rise in the middle of the year, sucked much of the urgency out of the market.

With buyers becoming increasingly reluctant to splurge on property, some vendors pulled the plug on their auctions and turned them into private sales rather than face the prospect of their homes passing in.

Certain categories of real estate sales have also become more abundant – particularly units and semi-detached dwellings – spreading buyers across more listings and reducing competition.

But experts cautioned that there was incredible variation in sales results across regions and vendors holding “prime real estate” were scoring big prices well over reserve.

Eastwood Auction Saturday 1 June 2024

Some auctions attracted close to 20 bidders, but this was not the norm. Picture: Thomas Lisson

“It’s not a hot market. It’s not booming, but it’s still relatively good,” said auctioneer Andrew Cooley.

Mr Cooley, the director of Avenue Auctions, added that current conditions were cooler than earlier this year. “Anything that’s really close, walking distance, to a train station and school is getting a good response. The demand for the other properties isn’t as strong and agents have to get the (list) price right from the beginning to be able to sell.”

Mr Cooley said standout results were often property specific. “The higher prices and larger bidder numbers for these homes are a reflection of the properties, not the current market,” he said.

Weekly auction clearance rates reflect the more balanced market. Clearance rates had hovered around the 70 per cent mark for much of the first half of the year – an indicator of a reasonably strong seller’s market.

They’ve since slipped to around 65 per cent in recent weeks. This has historically correlated with more minor rises in prices.

Eastwood Auction Saturday 1 June 2024

Auctioneer Peter Matthews calls bids on a Wingate Ave home in Eastwood that sold for about $830k over reserve. Picture: Thomas Lisson.

PropTrack’s latest Home Price Index released Saturday showed Sydney’s median property price nudged up 0.4 per cent over May.

Among the standout results across the weekend was the auction of a four-bedroom house on Wingate Ave in northwest suburb Eastwood, which sold for $839,000 above reserve.

The house on a circa 1000sqm block sold for just under $3.3m. Selling agent Catherine Murphy of The Agency had been given a reserve price of $2.45m and 15 bidders registered for the auction.

Ms Murphy said the property was an attractive offering for many buyers because of its location near local amenities and because of the larger block size.

31 Burns Crescent, Chiswick sold at auction for $13.3m.

These features aside, the property was also in a conservation area that normally limited the level of buyer demand. “It turned out not to be the case this time,” Ms Murphy said.

“It’s a normal market. There is no huge advantage for buyers or sellers. The one exception is A-plus properties, which draw a crowd because they’re rare. This was one of them.”

A three-level house perched on a waterfront block in Chiswick scored the highest price paid under the hammer this week at $13.3 million.

The 1575sq m property on Burns Cres last sold in 2013 for $5 million, records showed.

The house was said to have been designed using Feng Shui principles, with garden stairs leading down to a private beach and slipway into Five Dock Bay.

Auctioneer Stu Benson drops the gavel on a townhouse on Russell Ave in Baulkham Hills.

Ray White agents Mario and Jessica Carbone ran the sale. The opening bid was $11 million.

On the north shore, a Naremburn unit sold for $215,000 above reserve, with its location near the coming Crows Nest station proving decisive in the strong $1.465m sale.

Ten bidders registered for the auction for the Willoughy Rd unit, which included a mix of downsizers, first home buyers and investors, McGrath agent Ty McCartney-Brown said.

And in the Hills District, a family in Baulkham Hills was seen teary-eyed when the hammer dropped on their townhouse after a gruelling auction that saw 19 registered bidders drive the price $203,000 above reserve.

The sale price was $1.583 million, with auctioneer Stu Benson (right) dropping the gavel in front of a crowd of 60 people squeezed into the living area to avoid the rain.

13/163 Willoughby Rd, Naremburn sold for well above reserve.

Agent Jason Li of Murdoch Lee had revealed prior to the auction that any price above $1.4 million in Baulkham Hills would be “excellent” for a townhouse.

“It’s really difficult to get a price above that when it’s townhouses,” he said.

“What’s changing that is houses in Baulkham Hills are well over $2 million and the buyers who can’t afford that are turning to townhouses.”

Nine of the registered parties made bids and the auction was something of slugfest, with a whopping 76 bids placed.

Mr Benson said the townhouse on Kenneth Ave now represented an “entry level” property for the area. “It is a typically hotly contested segment of the market,” he said.

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