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Auctions fire up despite rain on big game day

By Mikaela Fowler

MARKET watchers only had eyes for Melbourne today on-site auctions were finally allowed back in a limited capacity in the Victorian capital for the first time since early July.

The Ray White Group booked a preliminary national clearance rate of 74.5 per cent. This week the auction juggernaut had 618 auctions booked, a 20.9 per cent increase over same time last year. The leading group cleared 70 per cent under the hammer in Melbourne and 77 per cent in Sydney today.

Locals say it was a very, very different AFL Grand Final day in Melbourne this year. This is a day normally blocked off in the calendar as reserved exclusively for the big game. But this year there was a flurry of real estate activity, the highest auction volume activity recorded on the big day in more than a decade.

With restrictions easing in recent weeks and a return to on-site auctions in Melbourne with a cap of 10 people in the crowd, sentiment in the market from both vendors and buyers continues to grow.

Ray White Victoria & Tasmania CEO Stephen Dullens said buyers were out in force today taking advantage of the eased restrictions and the increased real estate activity.

“This week the Ray White group conducted more than 100 auctions in Melbourne – the highest number of auctions conducted in a single week since June and second highest since March,” he said.

“While the majority of these auctions remained online, the increased confidence of buyers certainly showed with a preliminary clearance rate of 70 per cent and on average 5.5 registered bidders.

“With more than 100 auctions scheduled again next week, vendors and buyers have been quick to make up for lost time under lockdown conditions.”

So despite the rain and the fact the AFL Grand Final was to be held in Brisbane (where it is raining heavily), Melbourne buyers continued to battle it out online and the few on-site auctions on offer.

The auction day started early in Trish Orrico’s living room where the gun auctioneer and agent from Ray White Craigieburn streams all her online auctions (often in her slippers)!

Wallan-based seller Daniela Sepe said she was in awe of how the Ray White Craigieburn team managed to get 11 registered bidders for her two-story townhouse at 32 Mission Hills Way, Craigieburn in the Fairways Estate.

“I was nervous about going to auction now during COVID but the team reassured me they could still create the buzz and they really did,” Ms Sepe said.

“I was on the edge of my seat on the Zoom call but it was great to watch. Trish is the best, we are very happy with the result. It was nerve wracking as I am computer illiterate but Trish walked us through the process and did it all for us.”

“Why would you wait? We achieved a terrific result today in the middle of the COVID era. We were not desperate to sell but we also thought why wait?”

The Sepe family’s investment property had been empty and now a local first home buyer couple will be moving in after winning the keys.

Over at 6 Sunray Ave, Cheltenham, Ray White Cheltenham agent and auctioneer Angela Limanis sealed the deal on this marathon auction campaign that was “three times longer than normal.”

“Once we were allowed we held 50 private inspections and I had more than 30 people inspected the property during my live YouTube tours,” Ms Limanis said, who was excited to finally get back on-site and conduct an auction as it has been so long since the last one.

There were four registered bidders and the young buyers who bought it for $1.270 million were not even looking to buy at the start of lockdown.

“This couple who bought it weren’t even looking for a house to buy; they were looking for landscaping inspiration! Everyone’s been online looking at property in lockdown and the buyers just felt that this house and its garden were perfect. They were the first people to get through the house when they could and they fell in love. He’s also a tradie and saw the value in the terrific workshop too.”

Sellers Paul and Lenka Mitsakis were thrilled with today’s auction result.

The couple are looking to move to the Mornington Peninsula area now they have sold as they’d like a bigger block. “We finished our renovation here and we are really happy with how it came up,” said Mr Mitsakis, a demolition expert, pictured with his wife Lenka, a nurse and their dog Arnie.

“‘We are so happy and relieved now it’s sold and our agent Angela has been amazing. When we started the renovation we didn’t have any plans but we made it personal as if we were going to stay for a long time. We cannot speak highly enough about Angela Limanis too. She is a pro and she always goes the extra mile. We love her passion, she loves what she does.”

Ms Mitsakis said the pair worked all day at their jobs and worked hard at night on the house. “And I tell you it’s nothing like The Block. It’s hard work.” she said with a chuckle. “We wouldn’t rule out another project but it’s a big commitment for sure. My tip for other renovating couples is – hide the knives!”

Ms Limanis said the result was fantastic and showed you how important good presentation and styling was.

All eyes will be on Premier Daniel Andrews tomorrow as the state waits to hear of further easing of restrictions in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile the biggest residential auction sale of the week across the group was in Point Piper on Thursday night. Ray White Double Bay founder Craig Pontey sold this dress circle home at 16 Wunulla Road, Point Piper at auction for $13.7 million. “This market is strong, especially at the top end,” said the agent who has been working in Sydney’s blue chip eastern suburbs for more than 40 years.

“The top end is on fire. I have done $30 million in the sales in the last few weeks and people think I have retired,” Mr Pontey said with a chuckle.

“Far from it, I am still selling and it’s an incredibly strong market.” Eleven local buyers turned up for the on-site auction of 16 Wunulla Road, Point Piper and six of them were active in the action.

“I am delighted for my vendor Carmel Macdonald and her family as this was a cherished family home for more than 46 years.”

This incredible estate of 1160sqm land had a price guide of $9,000,000 – $10,000,000. The house was called on the market at $10.5 million by Ray White auctioneer James Keenan. “Then it was like a Mexican wave of hands as the bidders fought it out,” Mr Pontey said. A local family won the keys for $13.7 million.

Ray White New South Wales Chief Auctioneer Alex Pattaro said he’d seen many double digit registration numbers across the state today’s auctions.

“The competition at auction is fueling house prices and we are consistently seeing and hearing of record sales Sydney wide,” Mr Pattaro said.

“With more properties coming to the market in November, strong prices and buyer numbers is making it a great time to transact within the market. We see no better time to sell than now, and we expect this trend to continue for the rest of 2020.”

In Sydney’s northern beaches, Ray White Lower North Shore’s Justin Ferguson sold 63 Park Avenue Naremburn for $2,910,000 after seeing 120 groups through the property in it’s four week campaign.

“The primary demographic of buyers were young families looking to upsize and move into their forever home,” Mr Ferugson said.

The winning bidders were a family with young children, who secured the keys to beautiful Californian bungalow style home which had been in the same family for 35 years.

“There is not much stock on the market at the moment and a lot of buyers looking, which makes for a fantastic auction campaign,” Mr Ferguson said.

In Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, 7 Solo Street Kareela sold for $1,420,000 which was $120,000 over the reserve price making for some very happy vendors.

Marketing agents Adam Crawley and Hayley Paton from Ray White Sutherland Shire – Menai said the campaign was a huge success, with more than 140 groups through the doors during the campaign and 10 bidders on the day.

“The sellers were in tears when the final hammer dropped… I was crying too,” Ms Paton said.

“The family had loved this home for many years, and had decided recently to downsize to an apartment closer to the beach in Cronulla, after their kids moved out of home.”

The buyers were a young couple looking to upsize, with the hopes of their young children attending the nearby renowned local schools.

“We are very lucky here because the market is on fire; people are really looking to get into Kareela in particular. Now we just need more stock for all the buyers!”

Adam Crawley with his sellers at 7 Solo Street Kareela

Meanwhile, Ray White Gladesville Principal Robert Cassidy and assistant Georgia Bass sold 31 Thompson Street in Gladesville for $2,560,000, $210,000 above its reserve.

“We had 14 registered bidders today which created some fantastic competition and had 115 groups through the open homes,” Mr Cassidy said.

“The winning bidders were a lovely couple who bought the home for their daughter; they are over the moon and can’t wait to move in.”

The vendors, who had been living there for over 40 years and were looking to downsize, were very happy with the result as well.

“Like everyone at the moment, we have an abundance of buyers who are looking to get into the marketplace; luckily the stock levels in our office have been consistent to meet the needs of all these buyers,” Mr Cassidy said.

31 Thompson St, Gladesville

In the capital, Ray White Canberra agents Nicky Symon and Emily Tindal sold a beautiful architectural home at 42 Courveur Street in Garran for $1,550,000, well over the reserve price.

“Our sellers are very happy with the result today; it’s been their home for over 40 years, they created the beautiful garden and are happy to see a new family with three young kids now call it their own home,” Ms Symon said.

The winning family has a passion for gardens and the home in fact part of the Open Garden Scheme in Canberra last year. “So we truly could not have found a more perfect buyer. The buyers only saw the house in the last week and fell in love with it immediately,” she said.

The campaign saw a huge 173 groups through the house, which was not uncommon these days with the massive demand for stock.

“The market is a very buoyant market at the moment; we are getting big numbers through open homes and our team is flat out.”

Ray White Queensland Chief Auctioneer Mitch Peereboom said there had been some outstanding auction results throughout the state, due to the high number of registered bidders which has remained strong and consistent throughout October.

“In terms of clearance rates, we have seen some of the highest of the year this month, showing the strength in the marketplace We have seen strong results through a cross section of price ranges, from mid-$200,000 apartments across the city through to large rural sales; we saw a $17m sale for our Ray White Rural network yesterday under the hammer,” Mr Peereboom said.

“Listing numbers are lower due to the speed of the market at the moment, and buyers don’t have the choice that they usually would. If you are thinking of selling, the lead up to December is going to be a huge one this year, and we are still able to get you settled before Christmas time.”

Auctioneer Haesley Cush with Ray White Metro North Principal David Treloar

The weather held out in Brisbane this morning for the 100+ auction attendees who showed up to watch 52 Newman Ave, Camp Hill sell for $1,601,000, a huge $350,000 above the reserve price.

The campaign was an emotional one for Ray White Metro North Principal David Treloar, as the home belonged to his late grandmother.

“The house has been vacant since my grandmother passed away a few years ago, and we recently decided that we were personally ready to sell the home, and felt the timing was right in the marketplace too,” Mr Treloar said.

“We knew that now was the time to sell; everything we are listing, we are selling at a premium because of the surplus of buyers and the lack of stock.”

Mr Treloar said that it had been a special couple of weeks for his family, with the closing of this chapter, selling the home with many wonderful memories and where he spent a large part of his childhood.

“This home has been in my family for over 70 years, and we made sure to FaceTme my mum during the auction who is currently stuck in Melbourne.

“We are all very touched with the result, and are very happy for the lovely buyers today,” Mr Treloar said.

The campaign saw 90 groups through, and the auction attracted an impressive 25 registered bidders and the backyard was filled with neighbours, family, and friends of many years.

“Last night we actually only had 15 registered bidders, but obviously quite a few extras turned up to bid today.”

Buyers of 52 Newman Street, Camp Hill -Justine and Craig Sneesby, and Renee Dunn

The winning bidders, Justine and Craig Sneesby and Renee Dunn, are a developer and architect team who have grand plans to subdivide and develop the block.

“We came and viewed the property for the first time only last weekend, and we decided that the location and opportunity was too good to pass up,” Mr Sneesby said.

“We ended up bidding against other developers today; we had run our numbers and knew how far we could go.”

The pair have partnered on a number of developments recently, and are attracted to the inner eastern pocket of Brisbane where they both live.

“It’s a fantastic family-friendly location, particularly right near the Martha Street precinct and less aircraft noise in this particular street,” Mr Sneesby said.

The pair are going to rent out the property temporarily before starting the tender process to engage a builder and get their development underway.

Ray White auctioneer Haesley Cush said that a house that’s been held for 70 years speaks volume to the quality of the property and the location.

“There has never been a year when everyone has been forced to stay in their homes and reflect on what’s important in our lives,” Mr Cush said.

“So whether you are trying to buy a puppy, a Porsche or a property- the competition has never been so strong.

“The buyer numbers are real and they are right up there.

“There’s a real sense now that Brisbane prices are good value compared to interstate, and coupled with low interest rates, there’s a real sense that now is a good time to buy.

“Sydney and Melbourne buyers will always want to move to Brisbane not only for the lifestyle but also the value. And let’s not forget the fact that there’ve also been more restaurants open and AFL games played in Brisbane this year than in Melbourne!

“I spoke to a friend of mine in Melbourne this week and I said we had just pushed past $4000/sqm for an unrenovated property with no views and not on the water in our core area. He said that in his suburb in Melbourne, a comparable area to New Farm, land was now $15,000/sqm so we still have a way to go.”

On the sought-after Sunshine Coast, Ray White Caloundra Principal Andrew Garland and Consultant Marcus Lane sold 10 Mellum Court Dicky Beach for $738,000 to a couple from Melbourne who bought it sight unseen. Pictured above with his happy sellers.

“The buyers are from Melbourne and they’ve never seen the property before,” Mr Garland said.

“People are absolutely flocking to the Sunshine Coast to escape the bustle of the cities, particularly since COVID-19 started.”

“We are really seeing an increase in interstate buyers, but our major demographic is still people relocating from Brisbane to have a sea change.”

Mr Garland said they saw 60 groups come through during the three week campaign, and 16 registered bidders turned up to bid.

“Our vendor is also over the moon with today’s result, an investor who has owned the home for 12 years and was looking to liquidate the asset for various reasons. We are really proud to have gotten him this result today.”

Buyer Anthony Robinson, who is currently in the middle of the Melbourne lockdown, said they wanted to get into the market in Queensland, preferably near the beach.

“One half of our family relocated to the Peregian area about five years ago, so we have been keeping our eye on the market for a little while now,” Mr Robinson said.

“We figured that If something pops up that is worthwhile, we should take the opportunity, which is what we did today with this little gem at Dicky Beach.”

Mr Robinson had his father-in-law inspect the property and do a few FaceTime inspections with the Ray White Caloundra team.

“The service level and support has been fantastic from the Ray White team, even from afar and never having met them in person.”

“We are looking forward to having a great relationship with them in the future, as we are likely going to use them for property management while we rent it out for the next little while.”

“Our intention for this home is to keep it as an investment, and then down the track potentially relocating – Dicky Beach is not a bad place to be!”

Elsewhere, Ray White South Australia Chief Auctioneer John Morris said the auction culture was alive and well in the festival state.

“The blood coursing through the veins of auction culture in Adelaide is yellow with Ray White members representing 40 per cent of all auctions in the city,” Mr Morris said.

“Two weeks in a row every single auction has had bidding and there’s 5.2 average registered bidders per auction and next week we rise to 46 per cent of all auctions benign called by Ray White. Why would you wait to sell?”

Ray White Henley Beach Selling Principal Anthony Fahey had a strong day under the hammer selling two from two.

He ran a textbook auction campaign at 11 Somerset Ave, Fulham Gardens and took 39 groups through the house to inspect it, mostly developers.

Today some 12 registered bidders, half of them were active, in the auction which saw the large block with a whopping 18m frontage sell for $705,000.

“It was a quick auction after the starting bid of $620,000.”

Seller Steve Hewish said he was “exceptionally happy with Anthony Fahey and Tom Royal and Ray White in general”.

“The sale will help my mum and dad transition into care and we got $55,000 over the reserve which is a credit to Anthony and Tom for working with so many buyers to generate interest in the house. We are delighted with the outcome and the auction result.”

At 15 Jamaica Ave, Fulham Gardens – also not too far from the famous Henley Beach – the much-loved family home sold for $610,000.

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