Two-speed property market: Why this Northcote auction soared while others languish

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A renovated four-bedroom family home in a quiet area in Northcote attracted five bidders at auction on Saturday and sold for $2.275 million.

A young family won the keys to 35 Whalley Street, which has an impressive open-plan living area with high ceilings and a seamless transition to an outdoor deck.

A vendor bid started the auction at $1.95 million and competitive bidding followed.

In front of a healthy crowd, $25,000 bids brought the house to $2.2 million with smaller increments up until the sale.

The house had a price guide of $1.95 to $2.1 million. Nelson Alexander Northcote listing agent Tom Breen said that the vendors were sad to leave but were pleased that a young family was the successful buyer.

Breen said that the result at 35 Whalley Street was a good reflection of the Northcote property market.

“There’s sort of two sectors to it. The houses that are complete, and don’t really need any work – they are still selling really strong,” he said.

“The houses that need a little bit more work. They’re still definitely selling, but they’re not selling as well as they used to.”

On a beautiful spring day, the Northcote auction was one of 858 scheduled auctions across Melbourne on Saturday.

By evening, Domain Group recorded a preliminary auction clearance rate of 63.2 per cent from 627 reported results, while 72 auctions were withdrawn. Withdrawn auctions are counted as unsold properties when calculating the clearance rate.

The former hub of the Children’s First Foundation charity in North Melbourne, formerly known as Sunnydale, sold at auction on Saturday for $2.39 million.

Children’s First Foundation provides exceptional medical care for disadvantaged children from developing countries.

Since 2005, the charity used 66 Chapman Street as a support office and a meeting place for disadvantaged children and their families.

The property underwent renovations to be listed as a five-bedroom, three-bathroom stylish home with an external self-contained unit at its rear.

Four bidders competed fiercely at the auction which started with a $2.1 million bid. Strong bidding such as $25,000 increments saw the auction quickly jump to $2.3 million. After it reached $2.3 million only two parties remained interested.

The house had a price guide of $2.1 to $2.3 million. It was declared on the market at $2.29 million.

The property and its ideal location attracted strong demand from a range of parties including a professional couple and families. A young family was the successful buyer.

“A commanding terrace, free-standing, solid brick, having the backyard north-facing. But it was still very contemporary and modern today,” said Belle Property listing agent Charles Bongiovanni. “That’s what created a bit of demand. It was a good result.”

In Melbourne’s south east, there was a hot auction result at 65 Lorna Street Cheltenham that featured 11 active bidders and 101 bids.

The deceased estate sold for $1,221,500 and exceeded its reserve price by $271,500.

Ray White lead agent Trevor Bowen described the result as one of the best he had seen.

It was the first time the three-bedroom home had been sold since the original vendors built the home in 1968. They added an extension in the 1970s. But otherwise the home was in its original state.

In front of a crowd of 137 people, multiple bidders responded to each other at such a pace that meant auctioneer Angela Limanis was unable to call the auction at one stage.

“Cheltenham is a great suburb with about 20 schools within five kilometres of that home. There are beaches and it is not far away from a lot of parks. It is a very quiet neighbourhood. It just ticked every single box you can imagine,” Bowen said.

The buyers have plans to renovate the property.

In the eastern suburbs, a two-bedroom apartment in an ideal location sold in negotiations quickly after its auction on Saturday for $745,000.

Two bidders fought for 12A/414 Glenferrie Road Kooyong in a slow auction. The auction opened at $680,000 and $5,000 increments were initially made but interest from the second party waned.

The apartment was passed in at $720,000 and after successful negotiations both the vendor and a first-home buyer were pleased.

Jellis Craig Stonnington agent Will Bennison said there was still demand for eastern suburban apartments.

“We’re still seeing some good competition at this price point. We’re probably even starting to see a few investors back into the market as well because rents have increased,” he said.

Ray White chief economist Nerida Conisbee said that Melbourne’s property market is the outlier compared to other capital cities in Australia.

“It does seem to be the case in Melbourne that the increase in listings is satisfying buyer demand because that 63.2 per cent clearance rate is quite low,” said Conisbee.

“We’re still seeing price growth in Melbourne, so that’s a positive. But it is the lowest growth of all capital cities.

“We would expect to see a strong one [clearance rate] of high 60s or early 70s. It’s a little bit farther from what we are seeing elsewhere.”

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