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Home buyers out in force across Australia

By Georgia Harrington

HOME BUYERS were on the hunt in strong numbers across Australia again today.

The Ray White Group, which accounted for 30 per cent of all auction stock this week, today recorded its best week ever by way of registered and active bidders across the country. The group’s data recorded six registered bidders per lot nationally, an increase of 2.9 on a year ago.

The leading group this week booked 334 auctions across Australia, 10 per cent higher than the same week last year, and the preliminary clearance was sitting on 61 per cent .

Even in the middle of the lockdown in Melbourne, the group’s agents still managed to sell 10 of the 12 properties they had scheduled at their online auctions today.

Ray White Victoria CEO Stephen Dullens said buyer confidence continued unabated with the group’s data showing the highest levels of both registered and active bidders per auction on record.

“Buyers were out in virtual force this week with more than eight registered bidders on average per auction this week in Victoria as auction numbers and listings on the market continue to decline,” Mr Dullens said.

“It was another weekend where our auctioneers called auctions from their homes but this proved to be a very welcome outcome on what was a cold, rainy Melbourne winter’s day.

“Vendors who chose to leave their campaigns in place were once again well rewarded, while the number of auctions selling prior to auction also indicates strength in the market.

“Online auctions are providing great opportunities for vendors. With well over 100 sales transacted by Ray White VIctoria in the last seven days, despite Stage 4 and Stage 3 restrictions across the state, it is clear the Victorian property market remains resilient and active despite recent challenges.”

Ray White New South Wales Chief Auctioneer Alex Pattaro said they saw a strong number of registered bidders across Sydney’s auctions today.

‘We had an average of six registered bidders with three being active. Buyers are on the hunt and agents are reporting solid numbers at open for inspections.

“Despite all the metrics heading in the right direction, volume remains subdued across all of Sydney. However, expect a spike in listings over the coming month.

“Agents are indicating there are more buyers than sellers, ensuring vendors maximum price.

“Based on our current auction data, we see no reason why sellers would hesitate coming to market. Now is the time.”

The top sale of the day nationally was recorded by Ray White Maroubra | South Coogee Director Nader Hotait who sold the magnificent brand new architectural masterpiece at 6 Lister Avenue, Little Bay for $6.4 million under the hammer and in front of 100 people in Sydney today.

The cutting-edge high styled property, designed by award-winning architect Andrew Stanic overlooked the golf course and the ocean. High end specialist Nader Hotait said the immaculate home was never-to-be-built-out on the famous eastern coastline.

“We took 150 buyer groups through. This is one of the best homes I have ever seen. We had four local registered bidders and two were active in the auction which started at $5.8 million and lasted 15 minutes in total,” Mr Hotait said.

“I had a sale in South Coogee on Monday for just under $6 million. The prestige market is very active, especially in the $3 million to $7 million price range, but there’s just a shortage of stock despite plenty of buyers. The owner 6 Lister Ave is moving back overseas hence why he sold.”

Elsewhere, a ‘COVID Marshall’ was employed to keep the crowd in line at the auction of 2/69 Tranmere St, Drummoyne which got off to a great start eventually selling for $880,000 to some local first home buyers.

Selling agent Angela Saidi said of the 12 registered bidders there were six actively battling it out for the keys to the two bedroom unit.

“The auction started well, with some negotiations in the middle but as soon as it went on the market the bidding became really competitive,” Ms Saidi said.

“This entry point end of the market has been super active lately and I am seeing heaps of buyers.

Ms Saidi also said she is seeing a lot of buyers looking for something already renovated.

“That end of the market is being dominated by first home buyers and I think they just can’t wrap their heads around doing work on a property. They want something easy to move into,” she said.

“It’s in complete opposition to what we saw this time last year where everyone wanted something they could renovate and put their own stamp on.”

Proving no property is too far gone for informed buyers, this morning the burned down home at 3 Campbell St, Glebe sold for $916,000 after attracting 33 registered bidders. The one bedroom terrace house was firebombed in October last year along with several other nearby properties.

Ray White Surry Hills | Glebe | Alexandria | Erskineville Managing Director Peter Natoli, who also employed a ‘COVID Marshall’ pictured above, said it was a very strong auction from start to finish.

“It opened at $550,000 and just went off. We had a mixture of everyone interested in the house including builders, architects and couples ready to do their own renovations,” Mr Natoli said.

“It was a good campaign but the result did surprise me, we got there an hour early and we had people waiting for the auction and we knew that it was obviously going to go crazy.”

Meanwhile, this Belmore two bedroom apartment at 17/20 Burwood Road sold today for $750,000 with a whopping 10 registered bidders, four of whom were active.

Ray White Victoria Chief Auctioneer Matt Condon said buyers logged in from the comfort of their own home on a wet and gloomy Saturday to bid on a range of property going to auction across the state.

“The confidence in Melbourne’s real estate market remains strong despite the low volume of auctions this week. The lack of supply on the market is creating very high demand for quality property. Preliminary data shows we have had a significant increase in the number of active and registered bidders,” Mr Condon said.

“This week is the highest we have seen on record. Vendors who chose to continue their auction campaign were rewarded with a number of properties selling well over reserve. Overall we are expecting an exceptional auction day clearance rate this week.”

After three weeks of Stage 4 lockdown restrictions, Ray White Melbourne auctioneers are now well versed in running auctions from their living rooms. Buyer confidence has also remained stable despite virtual inspections and location changes.

Prior to COVID, Ray White Ringwood Director Chris Watson (pictured above) was at home calling auctions to a crowded street of eager bidders. Now the Ringwood Director is literally at home but with no less of a crowd now competing virtually for the keys to their dream home.

Calling the auction of 9/3 Gordon Court, Ringwood after overseeing an impressive mostly virtual campaign, Mr Watson managed to draw a massive 70 viewers to the morning auction.

Of those 70 viewers, 20 had registered to bid while 10 actively participated. Bidding was fierce and before even finishing the preamble, one bidder had already begun the bidding with a $457,000 bid. After half an hour and several competitive knock out bid attempts the two bedroom home sold for $125,800 above reserve at $725,800.

Mr Watson said the new owners have never seen the property in person, relying entirely on virtual inspections and vendor photography.

The purchasers haven’t seen it but they have already sold their place so they needed to buy,” Mr Watson said.

“Getting that much over reserve is not a thing you get in a depressed market. It’s all about supply and demand, there is not a lot for sale and what is on the market is selling well.”

The winning bidder’s son Jackson spoke on behalf of his parents and said they were undaunted by the fact that they had never seen the home before.

“They knew the location very well and the virtual tour sent through by Chris gave them the confidence to bid at auction without seeing the house,” Jackson said.

“They thought the pandemic would give them the opportunity to purchase a property at a good price and are really relieved they don’t have to continue looking for a home during restrictions.”

The team at Ray White Glen Waverley are always up for a challenge so when lockdown was announced they went into action. Their hard work preparing buyers and sellers prior to lockdown has continued to pay off today with the sale of 8 Gilbert Court, Mount Waverley.

The auction attracted 16 registered bidders with six actively bidding. Glen Waverley Director Andrew Davies (pictured above) said the auction which ended in a $1.057 million sale is an amazing story.

“The agent Darryl Wickham only had five days to take as many buyers through the home as possible before lockdown restrictions commenced. However several buyers tuning in had also not seen the property,” Mr Davies said.

“Today’s result and our ongoing success since the beginning of lockdown is testament to the resilience of the market and the perseverance of the Glen Waverley team.”

Ray White Glen Waverley sold six from seven through online auctions the night before lockdown restrictions. After Stage Four lockdown commenced they have auctioned a further two more properties with success.

It took Ray White Oakleigh’s Robert Cincotta (pictured above) an hour and a half to welcome new owners to 7 Patrick St, Oakleigh East. The house finally sold for $895,100 after a marathon of bidding that began at $710,000.

With an audience of 160 viewers, five active bidders battled it out to the end for the keys to the three bedroom home.

Selling agent George Midas said he’s not surprised by the huge viewer turn out as online auctions offer convenience for buyers.

“You wouldn’t get those numbers at onsite auctions before restrictions. Buyers realise they can bid anywhere and if they aren’t successful at least they’re at home,” Mr Midas said.

“In the end the buyers had actually never seen the home, instead I took them through a virtual inspection which I filmed the day before Stage 4 lockdown.

“The virtual inspection was hugely helpful, I filmed it as if I was taking someone through the house and whenever anyone would enquire then I would give them the video.”

Meanwhile Ray White Craigieburn Auctioneer Trish Orrico (pictured above) had to think quickly to keep up with the bids flying in for 3 Eucra St, Hadfield. After a quick auction that began at $620,000 the home sold through Craigieburn Agent Adrian Presileo for $791,000.

With 13 registered bidders and seven active, Mr Presileo said the auction is another indication that the Melbourne market is resilient.

“You get what you put in, I have listed two property without seeing them this week and going off that, the outlook is really good for September and October when we come out of lockdown,” Mr Presileo said.

In the Sunshine State, Ray White Queensland Chief Auctioneer Mitch Peereboom said that again the market continues to perform across Ray White Queensland this week with some great auctions.

“There has been some really outstanding bidding and confidence from buyers this week,” Mr Peereboom said.

“We’re seeing a number of our offices, particularly in the inner city of Brisbane, achieving some outstanding sale prices well in excess of expectations which is coming from their ability to create competition.

“If you look at the average number of registered bidders again, it was over four per auction this week. The clearance rate is holding strong, similar to recent weeks.”

It was smiles all around at 160 Eildon Rd, Windsor today after winning bidders Neil and Nicole Gavin outbid four other registered bidders to win the keys from sellers Benn and Nikki Kennedy.

Ray White Queensland Chief Auctioneer Mitch Peereboom brought his hammer down at $850,000 during a spirited bidding competition in Windsor this morning.

Ray White West End agent Matt Sale and principal Luke O’Kelly ran a textbook auction campaign to rack up their office’s third auction sale for the week.

The West End agents said more than 50 groups had inspected the property during the campaign.

“The buyer depth is very strong right now, helped along by low interest rates and the fact no-one is travelling. We have not slowed down one bit during COVID and I feel like we are going to get a good run into Christmas,” Mr O’Kelly said.

Benn Kennedy has owned the property for the last 15 years, and now he and his wife Nicole and three year old son Jack are moving into an investment property they own nearby.

“We are moving to do up our investment property, our next project,” Ms Kennedy said.

The new buyers were delighted to meet Ken Macfarlane, a 79-year-old retired boiler maker from Kallangur, who actually grew up in the house.

“My parents built the house in 1949 and raised the family here until it was sold in 2000. It was a wonderful home for my sisters and I but barely recognised it now it looks great since it’s been renovated,” said Mr Marfarlane who fondly remembers scaling the big mango tree in the backyard as a child.

Over in Greenslopes, Ray White Annerley Principal Geoff Sellars sold 9 Jubilee St for $1.050 million in front of a crowd of 40 people.

“There were four registered bidders, and the eventual buyer was a local family from one street over upgrading to a bigger home. The sellers lived in northern New South Wales and there were finalising their investment property. Once the lease ended and tier tenants moved out they took the opportunity to style it up for sale,” Mr Sellars said.

“Styling works to create an emotional engagement with buyers when they get there. Buyers get disappointed when they get there if the agent has used virtual furniture on their online ads. It actually has a negative effect on many buyers as they have a certain picture in their mind.

“Today is busy, I am running between eight open homes and everything is moving very quickly, with lots of sales happening after their first inspections.

“There was such a big push to get listed to sell in August, given the financial cliff everyone was expecting. Now with the extension to JobKeeper it feels like we are out of the danger zone and back into a normal balanced market.”

Ray White South Australia Chief Auctioneer John Morris said the preliminary clearance rate in the state sat at 50 per cent.

“There has been some impressive activity in the market this week with every auction scheduled having bidding with an impressive 13.3 average registered bidders per auction,” Mr Morris said.

“We continue to dominate the auction space in South Australia with 40 per cent  market share, and all flags sporting the name of our founder.

“Special mention to Rachel Lawrie from Ray White North Adelaide who has continued her 100 per cent selling streak online. even since restrictions have eased. The online method is working for her and long may it continue.”

After some tense negotiations, Mr Morris was able to bring the hammer down on 22 Farnham Tce, Dernancourt which sold for $430,000. The auction attracted five registered bidders with two participating and was sold through Ray White Norwood Agent Ryan Stapleton. The buyer had never been through the property but intends to develop the block of land.

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