Sunday, August 4, 2013

Auction rate defies traditional winter cool down

52 Argyle Street.

There were three bidders at the auction of the terrace house at 52 Argyle Street, Fitzroy.

Melbourne has shrugged off the usual midwinter property doldrums with the auction market at its healthiest in three years, turning in a 74 per cent clearance rate.

Not even the prospect of an election has deterred buyers although agents have suggested stock levels will remain low until after the election and the football grand final.

Marshall White director John Bongiorno said the election date is usually chosen because the greatest proportion of the population will be in town that day.

''It's a good day if you want to sell because there will be plenty of people around,'' Mr Bongiorno said.


Hocking Stuart director Andrew James said people who have been holding off making a decision about when to sell will now have some certainty. ''It's going to help vendors make their plans and from a buyer's point of view it will finally bring some more stock on the market, once the election and the finals finish,'' he said.

The market has been buoyant all year. Data released last week by RP-Data Rismark shows property prices are on the rise, with Melbourne median prices growing by 4.3 per cent in the past year and 6.8 per cent since the bottom of the market. The Reserve Bank is also widely expected to cut the cash rate again on Tuesday.

Sydney has also maintained its strong state with 81 per cent clearance from 252 results, according to Australian Property Monitors (owned by Fairfax Media).

Melbourne's clearance rate, as reported to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, was derived from 515 results, of which 73 properties were sold before auction and 132 passed in - 73 of those on a vendor bid. A remaining 22 results are yet to be reported.

A five-bedroom house at 34 Aquila Street, North Balwyn, achieved the highest price at $2.8 million. Two bidders fought a long slow auction conducted by Hocking Stuart.

There was plenty of action in the inner suburbs, with auctions in North Fitzroy attracting large numbers of bidders.

Jellis Craig director Simon Shrimpton handled six bidders at the auction of 66 Delbridge Street, a double-fronted Edwardian house near the Edinburgh Gardens on 374 square metres that had been in one family for 57 years.

Bids started at $1.2 million, quickly passing its $1.3 million reserve by 33 per cent to sell for $1.736 million.

Collins Simms agent Belinda Lindsay also fielded six bidders at the auction of a renovated double-storey terrace at 276 Rae Street, on the other side of the gardens in North Fitzroy. ''It just flew,'' she said. Bids opened at $1.05 million and it was on the market at $1.15 million and sold at $1.25 million.

''There's just more confidence in the market,'' Ms Lindsay said.

Some of the semi-industrial areas of Fitzroy and North Fitzroy are also doing well, she said.

''They are now trendy and even quite desirable, in part because that's where you find some really interesting architecture.''

Fitzroy artist Terry Doran sold his double-storey terrace at 52 Argyle Street, a street containing a mix of factories, businesses, terraces and warehouse apartments.

Mr Doran had lived in the terrace for 33 years. He had done very little to the house, which is on a 235 square metre block. It has an unrenovated charm and a relatively large back garden.

There were three bidders at the auction which started at $900,000. Steady low bids pushed it well past the $1.1 million reserve and it fetched $1.241 million.

Chambers agent Steven Scalise said his company had sold a single-fronted terrace at 76 Best Street for $794,000 - nearly $60,000 above its reserve and there had been seven bidders. ''Supply and demand is the biggest thing in Fitzroy especially as there's limited stock,'' he said.
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