Crowds of buyers descend on auctions to pay top dollar — and neighbours are cashing in too

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Auctioneer Ricky Briggs at the sale of a house in Camperdown. Picture: David Swift

Home sellers are being rewarded at auction with prices well above reserve as low listing volumes funnel large groups of buyers into contention for the same properties.

Only 440 homes went under the hammer Saturday — about a fifth less than over the same weekend last year and even further below long-term trend for sales volumes at this time of the year.

The conditions encouraged particularly aggressive bidding in the inner west, where a two-bedroom house on Roberts St in Camperdown sold under the hammer for $1,667,000.

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The price was $217,000 over the reserve and about $450,000 above the original price guide, which was increased prior to the auction due to unexpectedly high interest from buyers, according to selling agent Nicholas Viewey.

The Viewey Real Estate principal showed more than 150 groups of keen buyers through the home in the lead up to the auction and issued 40 contracts of sale.

Neighbourhood kids (left) Charlee Potter, 9, Scarlett Ryan, 5, and Reghan Potter, 5, set up a cake stand at the auction.

Buyer turnout at the open for inspections was so high it encouraged a group of neighbourhood kids to set up a lemonade and cake stand on the day of the auction, complete with a wooden cash register. The $3 treats on offer included home-baked brownies and muffins.

The parents of children Scarlett Ryan, 5, Charlee Potter, 9, and Reghan Potter, 5, joked that the money would be going into a fund for the children so they could save home deposits.

There were plenty of potential customers at the auction, including 13 registered bidders and a crowd of about 70 onlookers straddled on both sides of the street.

Auctioneer Ricky Briggs received an opening bid of $1.4 million and the offers quickly surpassed $1.6 million as eight of the registered buyers threw their hands up to bid.

The eventual buyers were a couple who had been unlucky bidders at five previous auctions. Their final offer of $1.667 million was met with cheers from the crowd and they were handed a free cup of lemonade.

Buyer Jaye O’Dwyer said it was a relief to finally end their property search.

Winning Bidder Jaye O’Dwyer with mother-in-law Lisa Paulsen. Picture: David Swift

“We had been living overseas and then with my mother-in-law for a year so it was time for us to buy,” he said, adding that they had originally been seeking out homes in the lower north shore but decided to scale down their budget and change their search to the inner west.

“(The price) was still way more than we expected,” Mr O’Dwyer said.

Mr Briggs said the high price and big buyer turnout showed “energy was creeping back into the market”.

“The price was incredible,” he said. “The shortage of stock played a big part in that.”

The auction attracted a big crowd.

In Lilyfield, a two-bedroom house sold for $1.301 million, roughly $100,000 above the price guide, in tragic circumstances.

Both owners of the property at 178 Lilyfield Rd passed away during the marketing campaign for the auction. Their deaths occurred within two days of each other.

Auctioneer Damien Cooley received an opening bid of $1 million and there were 50 bids placed from 11 registered bidders.

It was a surprise turnout — Cobden and Hayson selling agent David Carrozza told the Sunday Telegraph the day prior to the auction that he expected four to six buyers to register.

178 Lilyfield Rd, Lilyfield.

A two-bedroom house on Caroline St in Redfern sold under the hammer for $1.01 million — $26,000 over the reserve.

In Northmead, a two-bedroom Northmead house on a prized 640sqm block with redevelopment potential sold for $962,000.

It was the first time the property at 9 Rawton Ave changed hands in nearly 70 years, with the property last traded in 1951 for 2500 pounds.

“The good news is the vendors got their money back,” selling agent Will Hampson said.

9 Rawton Ave, Northmead sold for $962,000.

The Lumby Hampson principal added that the home was popular with buyers because there was plenty of scope to add value through a renovation or replace the current dwelling with a duplex.

Initial expectations for the price were around the $850,000 mark. “It was a good price,” Mr Hampson said. “High prices are being fuelled by a shortage of stock.”

Auctioneer Kate Lumby received an opening bid of $700,000 and there was interest from 12 registered bidders.

The buyers were a local family who are planning an extension.

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