John StreetWhether it’s “unliveable” dumps or million-dollar mansions, recent auction results are stunning agents and their vendors but frustrating buyers.

Analysts are predicting some sectors of the Sydney market could experience 10 per cent growth this year.

Last Saturday’s auction clearance rate of 78.7 per cent was the best in three years and included the $800,000 sale of a “blank canvas” at 182 Denison Street, Newtown.

There were also eight auction sales above $2 million, which was the best prestige outcome this year.

But one sure sign that the market’s on the improve is when builders start fighting over renovator’s delights.

Raine & Horne agent Jonathan Viewey had expected about $650,000 for the Denison Street dump. “That went to a builder and his wife,” Mr Viewey said.

And another “renovator’s delight”, at 26 John Street (pictured) , Erskineville, went for $770,000 two weeks ago– $200,000 above the reserve.

More than 170 people had inspected the property, many of them builders seeing dollar signs.

“People just went crazy at the auction,” selling agent Braden Walters of True Property said

“Builders are starting to see that they can make money in these sorts of projects, with signs the market could move up 10 or 15 per cent.”

Australian Property Monitors senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson is sticking firmly to his 2013 growth forecast for the overall Sydney market of 3 to 5 per cent. “Though closer to 5 than 3,” he said.

However, he believes low interest rates and increasing buyer confidence could see 10 per cent growth for property priced in the $500,000 to $1.5 million range.

“That’s going to be the strongest portion of the market,” he said. “There’s a lot of activity from investors but very few first home buyers and the prestige market is still relatively flat.”

However, prestige agents are also sounding confident.

In recent weeks, there have been the well-publicised trophy home sales of $33 million and $50 million in the east, followed up by last week’s $9 million in Balmain East and a $5.9 million auction sale – $800,000 over the reserve – in Castlecrag.

“I wasn’t surprised we got an aggressive figure, but I thought it would be more mid-fives, “selling agent Mark O’Brien of Richardson & Wrench said.

Although those two big sales in the east went to Chinese buyers, Mr O’Brien said his buyer was a local.

Within an hour of the property hitting the internet he was taking calls from Brazil, Britain and Singapore. He also had an offshore Chinese buyer fly in for the auction.

“Houses like these seem to have a bit of an international flavour,” Mr O’Brien said.

Architect Tony Owen, who has $4.5 million hopes for his Moebius House in Dover Heights, wouldn’t say no to a buyer from overseas – in fact he thinks it would be perfect for a Chinese buyer.

“It’s a unique, award-winning design, it’s got panoramic views of the harbour and is very contemporary and very luxurious,” he said.

The auction sales from the weekend included a five-bedroom house at 3 Illiliwa Street, Cremorne, sold for $2060,000. “There were 40 individual bids,” selling agent Adam Vernon said.

“We’ve sold three houses over $2 million in the last eight days.”

GoodyerDonnelley agent Alex Phillips’ South Coogee waterfront at 12 Bunya Parade didn’t even make its auction scheduled for Saturday, fetching $3.1 million. “We had multiple offers of $2.8 million and $2.9 million after just five days so the vendors were pretty happy.”

He was due to exchange on two more properties – one for $2.6 million and another $2.7 million – overnight. “There’s been a complete change of mentality from buyers since last year,” Mr Phillips said.

His twin brother, William, who sells for BresicWhitney in the inner city, has noticed a similar trend. “It’s the strongest we’ve seen it in the last three or four years,” he said.

“There’s not enough stock to meet demand . . . buyers know they need to move on properties or they’ll miss out.”


Source: Stephen Nicholls-