A unique former worker’s cottage wedged up a lane in Paddington sold for $215,000 over reserve at $1.215 million after piquing the interest of nearly 500 house hunters.
“There was huge interest in the home,” selling agent Andrew Cary of Ray White-Paddington said. “Buyers knew it had to sell. That made it very attractive to them.”
Eleven buyers registered for the auction at 5 Paddington Lane, with six submitting offers. The opening bid was $1 million and the buyers were a local family with plans to rent the home out.
“We got some crazy numbers,” Mr Cary said. “We got 500 inquiries and showed 150 groups through the property … it was a strong result for the current market.”
A nearby house at 124 Fletcher St in Woollahra sold under the hammer for $2.56 million — $260,000 over reserve.
Selling agent Chris Helich of Raine and Horne said the home was popular with buyers because it offered scope to be renovated.
“People liked that it was a blank canvas and they could do what they wanted,” Mr Helich said.
The properties were among 687 homes that went under the hammer today, a drop in volume compared to the same week last year.
CoreLogic figures showed declining auction volumes have been a trend this year.
Nearly 2500 fewer Sydney homes went to auction over the first three months of the year compared with over the same period in 2018, a drop of about 32 per cent.
The eastern suburbs and north shore were among the regions with the biggest falls in auction volumes.
There were 832 auctions across the east over the three months — down from 1174 for the quarter in 2018 — while the 839 auctions on the north shore was well below the 1259 scheduled for the period last year.
CoreLogic research analyst Cameron Kusher said the declining volumes were surprising.
“(It) talks to the broader market conditions. The fact credit conditions are so tight, vendors are less confident about selling under those conditions and there are fewer buyers in the market.
“For an auction to be successful, you need a lot of buyers.”
Mr Kusher said the week before Easter was traditionally one of the biggest, but that wasn’t the case this year with only 2166 auctions scheduled to be held across the country, compared to 3900 auctions this time last year.
“You do tend to see a bit of a surge before Easter … but this year there’s no pre-Easter rush … that tells you a lot about the state of the market.”
Auctions have also become a rarer sight in the area around Ryde, where rampant construction activity has given house hunters unprecedented choice and removed much of the high pressure sales environment needed to make auctions successful.
There were 386 auctions in Ryde over the first three months of 2018 but the volume shrank to 275 auctions this year.
Auctions were the most likely to be successful on the north shore, where 62 per cent of the homes that went under the hammer during the three months sold.
The lowest clearance rates were recorded in the outer west and Blue Mountains region, where just 30 per cent of auctions were successful.