Former public housing blocks in Griffith, Narrabundah and Lyons went under the hammer on Wednesday morning, selling for a combined total of more than $84 million.
There was fierce competition at the auctions as the biggest players in Canberra’s property industry crowded into the Don Bradman Room at Manuka Oval.
Six blocks were auctioned – four in Griffith and one each in Narrabundah and Lyons – and five of them sold, with the Lyons block passing in.
Despite interest from outside of Canberra, all the sold blocks went to local developers with Morris Property Group picking up three of the Griffith blocks.
East Hotel developers Bisa Property purchased the other Griffith block, and Amalgamated Property Group is said to have purchased the Narrabundah site.
“All of the sites were purchased by local developers – we did have a campaign that stretched outside of Canberra’s borders and we had initial interest from parties interstate but at the end of the day, it was local developers who appreciated the value,” Colliers International director of residential land marketing Shane Radnell said.
“Development blocks of this size and nature [in Canberra] don’t get produced every day and they are probably the last blocks that will become available in Narrabundah and Griffith.”
A 12,080-square-metre block in Griffith was the highest sale, selling for $40 million. Set on the former Stuart Flats public housing site, the block has a provision for 282 dwellings. The three other Griffith sites sold for $12.005 million, $8.25 million and $3.615 million.
A 13,775-square-metre block with a provision for 177 dwellings in Narrabundah, on the former Gowrie Flats public housing site, sold for $20.355 million.
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The Lyons block passed in for $13.55 million, and the underbidder has exclusive negotiating rights until noon Friday.
Suburban Land Agency assistant director Julia Forner was “hopeful” they would be able to secure a sale for the Lyons site by the end of the exclusive negotiating rights period.
“[We were] really pleased with the results today. It shows that premium sites in premium locations are still really sought-after,” she said.
The most hotly contested blocks were the 12,080-square-metre block in Griffith and the Narrabundah site.
Bidding for the most expensive site kicked off at $15 million and moved in various increments ranging between $250,000 to $1 million. Towards the end, two bidders fought it out before it was secured.
There was a fierce bidding war at the end of the auction for the Narrabundah block. Bidding for the site started at $10 million and it progressed relatively quick to the $17 million mark. But from there bidding slowed, and towards the end there were many increments of $5000.
“It’s easily the most dynamic and well-attended auction we have seen for quite a while … it’s clear Canberra developers are confident in the economics of the Canberra market,” said Mr Radnell.
The auctioned blocks were among some of the last public housing sites to be sold off as part of the ACT government’s wider urban renewal agenda.
According to the 2018-19 ACT indicative land release program, the former public housing site of Macarthur House in Lyneham is slated to come to market by the end of the financial year.
Next Wednesday, Suburban Land Agency will be auctioning three multi-unit sites in Coombs.