The spring selling season and the imminent end to widespread lockdowns have shifted the nation’s property boom into top gear, driving buyers to splash record sums at auctions across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on Saturday.
Home hunters forked out more than $892 million across the three cities, while many paid reserve-busting prices to land a home in a show of incredible market confidence that experts say could spell a red-hot end to one of the strangest years in recent history.
In Melbourne, a new home in the seaside suburb of Chelsea blasted the non-beachfront townhouse record to smithereens after a family spent $1.785 million for the architectural masterpiece – leaving the vendors in tears of joy.
The four-bedroom, three-bathroom home, at 26B Donald Grove, Chelsea, sold for almost $300,000 more than the price guide, and roughly $400,000 more than similar top deals in the area, said selling agent Shane O’Sughrue, of Buxton Chelsea.
“The demand was just incredible and this sale has set a new precedent for build quality and set the benchmark [for non-seafront townhouses],” Mr O’Sughrue said.
“We had 18 registered bidders and I was sweating, literally. This has obliterated the record [for similar homes] in the suburb.
“The buyers are from completely out of area … and they are in their late 50s with two older children. When they put in the final bid and I knocked it down they put their hands up in the air screaming. It was really emotional and they were shaking.”
Mr O’Sughrue said the first bid was just over the price guide, with buyers from across the city drawn to the quality of the 405-square-metre home.
In Geelong, a young Melbourne couple splashed $127,000 more than the reserve to nab a three-bedroom cottage at 25 Dorothy Avenue, Belmont, in a bid to escape the city and its ongoing restrictions.
Selling agent George Politis, of Ray White Highton, said the pair paid $677,500 to clinch the home from a local underbidder, in what was evidence of a fast-growing migratory trend sweeping the Victorian capital.
“They are from the Melbourne CBD and they’d just had enough of lockdowns and restrictions. In fact, in Geelong, we’ve had an influx of buyers coming from Melbourne in the past 24 months and it has boosted our house prices through the roof,” Mr Politis said.
“I think people are looking for lifestyle now and places like Geelong are going through leaps and bounds … we’ve got more high-rises than before; we’re close to the beach and we’ve got jobs … and we’re just 45 minutes from Melbourne.
“A couple of years ago this home would have sold for $400,000 and we were quoting $500,000 to $550,000 [throughout the campaign].
“The auction was bananas. The first bid was over the reserve at $560,000.”
At 9 Monte Carlo Court, Greenvale, in Melbourne’s north, a charming five-bedroom brick home on a 996-square-metre block sold for $1.166 million – with two young, local families inching past the $1 million reserve at the business end of the auction, said Phillip Mercieca of Ray White Gladstone Park.
“We initially launched a four-week campaign but there was just so much interest that we brought it forward to two weeks and in the end we had eight registered bidders,” he said.
“It is a really lovely home and while it’s typically what you find in the area there’s just not many of them available.”
The picturesque abode was one of 510 properties to sell across Melbourne from 686 reported auctions, generating a clearance rate of 74 per cent. The median sale price was $980,000.
In Sydney, the clearance rate was a consistent 85 per cent after 377 homes sold for a median price of $1,490,500.
Of those, a spectacular four-bedroom property backing onto the Muirfield Golf Course, at 25 Woodbury Street, North Rocks, earned one of the biggest rock star welcomes from buyers with 28 registered bidders battling it out for the keys in front of an online crowd of 250.
According to those watching, bidding kicked off at $2.2 million and flew to the eventual sale price of $2.75 million, in what was a record suburb sale price for 2021, while being equal to the all-time record house price.
“Two things made this property so popular and they were the fact that you don’t see many houses like that in North Rocks and also that it had the golf course setting as well as these glass windows that look straight out onto the course. This drew people that hadn’t even been looking into North Rocks … and who weren’t even looking to buy,” selling agent Sam Dalgliesh of McGrath Parramatta said.
“And that doesn’t happen often. I actually sold this home to the vendors in 2007 (for $651,000) and it was completely original condition back then.”
Over at 26 Angelo Street, in Burwood, a charming cottage brimming with heritage features fetched a reserve-blasting $2.06 million under the hammer in a heart-warming charity auction that drew an eyewatering 42 registered bidders.
The late Melrose Park local Ian Hemming had bequeathed all proceeds of his three-bedroom home to Ovarian Cancer Australia to create a life-changing legacy, selling agent Neil Robson of Ray White Gladesville.
“It was truly amazing … and it sold for $490,000 over the reserve. This beautiful man actually decreed his entire estate to Ovarian Cancer Australia and so last year we sold a home in Melrose Park for $1.5 million … so this gentleman has raised over $4 million alone [for the charity].”
At the bustling online auction, hundreds virtually tuned in to watch a young inner-west couple nab the keys to the home that had not changed hands since its construction in the early 1900s.
“It was a post-Federation character brick home with glass leadlight windows and beautiful timberwork but it hadn’t been renovated much since it was built. This is the buyers’ first family home purchase and they want to restore it,” Mr Robson said.
“After this auction, I think Ian would be sitting back in heaven with a big grin on his face knowing that through his generosity he has made such a big impact on hundreds of women’s lives.”
Over at 33 Banks Road, Earlwood, a home that last sold in May 2020 for $1.7 million, fetched a jaw-dropping $2.22 million at auction with no changes made to the property in the interim, in a move selling agent Aaron Papadimatos of Devine Real Estate Marrickville/Dulwich Hill said revealed the strength of the Sydney market.
“It shows you the growth that’s happened in our marketplace in the last 12 months and it’s not stopping any time soon,” Mr Papadimatos said.
“We had five registered bidders on the day and it was a cracking good family home with double living spaces. The vendors were looking for a bit of a sea change out of Sydney.”
A strong 84 per cent clearance rate was clocked in Brisbane after 66 homes sold under the hammer on Saturday for a median sale price of $1.285 million.
At 118 Wilgarning Street, in Stafford Heights, a “mid-century masterpiece” on a 873-square-metre block came close to smashing the suburb house price record after a Brisbane couple paid $1.59 million under the hammer.
The sale, which comes hot on the heels of skyrocketing growth in the once stigmatised suburb has revealed the changing appetites of buyers, said selling agent Dean Hamilton of LJ Hooker Stafford, with countless more big-ticket sales tipped before Christmas.
“We’ve had a massive buyer uptick here. It used to have this stigma of housing commission but now you’d be lucky to get into the suburb,” Mr Hamilton said.
“We’ve been waiting a long time for this. Three-bedroom homes here now sell for over $900,000 and two years ago they sold for under $600,000.”
Mr Hamilton said the suburb’s big blocks that “had not been chopped up” were luring families from nearby blue-chip suburbs such as Kedron who could see the incredible value.
In Coorparoo, a two-bedroom townhouse attracted 47 registered bidders at an online auction before selling for $602,000 – $82,000 more than the reserve.
Selling agent Kirrilli Cobley of Ray White Indooroopilly said the property, at 1/106 Mackay Street, received a huge number of inquiries, with 250 groups inspecting the property prior to auction, with a young couple claiming the keys on the day.
“It was the fact that it has a massive grass backyard which suits upsizers and downsizers – people upsizing from an apartment or downsizing from a house,” Ms Cobley said.
“It ticked so many boxes for so many people.”