Vendor foils $10.8m four-in-a-line auction payday a decade in the making

Domain Carmen Forward December 18, 2023 

The owners of four homes side-by-side in Burwood spent 10 years trying to get together and sell as a development site.

Finally listed for sale together, they went to auction on Saturday with a $10 million guide, only for one vendor to foil the four-in-a-line opportunity.

Numbers 101214 and 16 Stanley Street, spanning 1485 square metres in total piqued the interest of two big developers who went head-to-head in the stifling heat before a crowd of 150.

Bidding for the four properties as a development site got to $10.8 million, which was less than the $12 million reserve. The percentage each vendor would receive was calculated based on the square meterage of each site. As the vendor of number 12 was not ready to let go, the auction had to change gears and move into the back-up plan to auction each home individually.

Number 14 sold for $2.96 million and number 16 sold for $2.8 million side-by-side, going for a combined total of $5.74 million to the same developer.

The auction for number 12 got to $2.275 million but, as the vendor was insistent on achieving $2.8 million, it all came to a halt. Without securing number 12 – the middle lot – there was no further interest from the developers for lot 10, the far left property of the four, so the auction for lot 10 did not even commence.

Selling agent Elie Semrani from Strathfield Partners spent three hours in the heat suited up in negotiations for the large-scale development site.

“They’re [10 & 12] going to be sold off as individual homes now because there’s no more strength as a development site moving forward. Each lot is extremely small. They’re only 290 square meters each. So it’s going to be very difficult to secure buyers now moving forward. They probably should have just sold either … four in one line or to the developer.”

The Burwood site was one of 648 scheduled auctions in Sydney on Saturday.

By evening, Domain Group recorded a preliminary auction clearance rate of 57 per cent from 472 reported results, while 158 auctions were withdrawn. Withdrawn auctions are counted as unsold properties when calculating the clearance rate.

It’s Sydney’s lowest preliminary rate since last December, and the first time this year that the rate has dipped below 60 per cent – a benchmark that typically reflects a balanced market.

In Avalon, a 1970s home with “Byron Hinterland” vibes and with a guide of $1.8 million attracted nine registered buyers.

The four-bedroom home at 8 Sanctuary Avenue sold $285,000 above the $2 million reserve.

Nine registered, including some who hadn’t seen the property until the day. The three who actively bid were younger families seeking their forever home, two represented by buyers’ agents.

Bidding opened at $1.8 million with $10,000 and $15,000 bids taking it to $2,285,000.

Selling agent Jonathan Fletcher from Cunninghams Real Estate said the gardens created by the vendor’s horticulturalist son as well as the location in easy walking distance to village convenience made the property stand out.

“It was a bit of a hidden sanctuary. It’s called Sanctuary Avenue but it was,” he said.

The vendor was an Avalon artist who had held onto the home for 45 years.

In Cronulla, nine developers registered to bid on a three-bedroom house a block back from the beach at 14 Elouera Road. Records show the property last traded for $1.98 million in 2020. The home was empty during this time as DA approval plans for a duplex site were secured increasing the interest in the beachside location.

Five actively bid on the property guided between $2.9 million and $3.19 million. Bidding opened at $2.6 million and went up in $50,000 bids, dwindling to $20,000 bids to $2.8 million until it slowly pushed above the $2.9 million reserve. The final winner secured it for a $10,000 bid, it sold for $3.01 million.

Selling agent Jennifer Rainbow from McGrath Cronulla said she was really pleased for the owners.

“It’s nice to wrap up the year on a good note like that – a good finish.”

PRD’s chief economist Dr Diaswati Mardiasmo thought the 57 per cent clearance rate reflected the season, not the market.

“A lot of people are away already [on] school holidays. If we look at the amount of auctions that were scheduled, say a couple of weeks ago, before the school holidays… there’s about 200, odd, less scheduled. It’s nothing to do with the property market, like going soft or anything like that, per se. I would say it’s more the timing of things,” she said.

“The cash rate is being held stable. So I think that has also gained people’s confidence because we all know that the next cash rate [decision] is not going to be until February.”

Mardiasmo said the RBA hasn’t given any indication of slowing down any time soon. She expects the first quarter of 2024 to be much the same.

“It’s still going to be a steady ship as we go through the second and third quarter. And then we’ll see what happens in the fourth quarter if they do decide to decrease the cash rate.”