Four-bedroom Barwon Heads waterfront home sold for whopping $2.66million under the virtual hammer on Saturday, almost double its purchase price in 2017.
The sellers of 96 Hitchcock Avenue were investors who paid $1.35million four years ago – as Victoria’s property market hit its latest peak – for the property 25 minutes’ drive from Geelong.
House prices, including those in Geelong, have now passed that peak as stranded buyers rush to upgrade or move to regional areas.
It was one of 1,338 auctions originally scheduled for Victoria on Saturday, including 1,294 in Melbourne, with many sellers later changing their minds and pulling out of the sale due to the lockdown.
In the evening, Domain Group recorded a Melbourne preliminary clearance rate of 36.7% from 627 reported results, while 390 bids were withdrawn. Withdrawn auctions are counted as unsold properties when calculating the clearance rate.
96 Hitchcock Ave, Barwon Heads VIC 3227
Bellarine Property Manager Levi Turner said local investors were able to look through the property before regional Victoria was plunged back into lockdown a week ago.
A first bid of $2.2 million set the scene, with three bidders battling it out. The reserve had been set at $2.3 million, he said.
“All three bidders were investors,” Mr Turner said. Domain after the auction. “The buyers wanted it for rent. Because the interest rates are so low, we see a lot of people investing here, which is a change from the past.
Closer to town, a repairman in 15-17 Pasley Street South, South Yarra, sold online for $2.785 million after being called on the market at $2.35 million.
15 South Pasley Street, South Yarra VIC 3141
Six bidders registered for the online auction, but only two remained, who upped the ante with bids of $5,000.
The buyers, a local family, plan to demolish the house and rebuild it on the property’s 334 square meter block.
Marshall White Stonnington Sales Agent Abby Innes said the sale was rare in the suburbs, given its position close to Fawkner Park, Prahran Market and the city.
Although buyers couldn’t look through the property due to the lockdown, they were still very keen to bid, she said.
“With land it is sometimes difficult to gauge how it will fare at auction, but I had sent quite a few contracts so I knew we would be very interested,” Ms Innes said.
Another repairman, one of the cheapest to sell in posh Albert Park for some time, also went under the virtual hammer for $1.51 million. It was called on the market at $940,000.
The one bedroom house 9 young street belonged to the same seller for 35 years, auctioneer Marshall White Port Phillip Ben Manolitsas noted.
He called the home a “blank canvas” in the perfect location to walk to the village of Albert Park and deal with the extra “COVID pounds” buyers might be looking to change after more than 200 days of confinement in Melbourne.
9 Young Street, Albert Park VIC 3206
Seven registered bidders fought for the keys, with the buyer looking to renovate the house and live in it, Mr Manolitsas said, adding: “He plans to restore it to its former glory.”
A renovation could also be considered for a house in Cheltenham, southeast of the CBD, which sold at online auction for $1.435 million.
The six registered bidders for the three-bedroom house in 42 rue Paul kept their cards close to their chests, and the auction was halted as bids slowed around the $1.407 million mark to allow agents to chat with sellers.
42 Paul Street, Cheltenham VIC 3192
Ray White Cheltenham manager and auctioneer Kevin Chokshi said bidders returned after the break and the property was sold to a young family.
“They are likely to demolish the existing house and build their dream house, but they could also renovate,” Mr Chokshi said.
The sellers, two women who had invested together, were delighted with the result, he added.
North of town, a family home in Brunswick West went up for virtual auction and subsequently sold for $1.55 million.
The three-bedroom brick-veneer home in 97 Pearson Street was listed with a price guide of $1.5 million to $1.6 million.
97 Pearson Street, Brunswick West VIC 3055
It had arrived on the market in time for some physical inspections before the start of the last lockdown, and the successful bidder was a homeowner who was lucky enough to see it in person, said auctioneer David Sowersby of Walshe and Whitelock .
The online auction began with a seller’s bid of $1.4 million and a call for a raise of $50,000. One bidder offered $1.41 million and a second bidder risked $1.411 million, before the first retaliated with $1.415 million.
The house then went through private negotiations with the highest bidder, who struck a deal within the requested price range.
“We had a bit of interest and thought, we’ll give it a try,” Mr Sowersby said of the decision to go ahead with the online auction in lockdown. “The sellers are very happy.”
Although some sales are still taking place virtually, he said it was frustrating to be limited to video visits instead of physical inspections and he hoped for a reprieve soon.
“There are still a lot of buyers out there,” he added.
With Elizabeth Redman