Coronavirus: Agents react to bans on real estate auctions and open homes, saying: ‘We have to adapt’

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18 Epping Rd, Double Bay sold for about $4.4 million prior to the scheduled March 31 auction.

Some of Sydney’s top agents have reacted positively to PM Scott Morrison’s banning of real estate auctions and open homes last night to control the spread of coronavirus.

“We have to adapt,” says Ray White TRG principal Gavin Rubinstein.

“We can do one-on-one inspections, buyers can still bid in online auctions and we’ll be moving to more expressions of interest and private treaty campaigns.

“These new challenges are really going to qualify the buyers — so we’ll be only dealing with motivated buyers and motivated sellers in smaller volumes.”

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Auctions, open homes banned

Online bidding a roaring success

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18 Epping Rd, Double Bay, has a beautiful kitchen.

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And stylish interiors throughout.

But he said big sales were continuing. Last night he and colleague Evan Williams negotiated the sale of the Double Bay home of OVATO publishing chief operating officer James Hannan and his wife Laura.

The four-bedroom residence with off-street parking at 18 Epping Rd had been scheduled for a March 31 auction with a $4 million guide. They sold it for about $4.4 million.

“The numbers we had through Epping Rd was staggering …. we had 18 groups through Saturday’s open home — there was no stopping the tap on that,” Rubinstein said.

And the pair also sold an apartment at 22/3-5 Marathon Rd, Darling Point. They were tight-lipped about the result but it was above the $3 million guide.

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15A and 15C/13 Thornton St, Darling Point is an amalgamated penthouse.

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It has extraordinary harbour views.

Rubinstein separately sold the Darling Point penthouse at 15a and 15c/13 Thornton St owned by former car dealer Neil Sutton and his son, Scott, which most recently had a $7 million guide.

Attitudes change quickly in these days of the coronavirus. Auctioneer Damien Cooley, who on Monday said registered bidders would still be able to attend his in-rooms auctions in Double Bay, said last night: “In these troubled times, the move to ban in-rooms auctions, on-site auctions and open home inspections was expected.

Not this soon, but expected none the less.”

He said Cooley Auctions was well prepared, with his AuctionNow by Realtair platform that “enables us to be completely online”.

It was possible to watch, register, bid, buy and exchange on any device, anywhere in the world.

“The restrictions will pass, but our industry will change forever,” he added.

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3/87A Birriga Rd, Bellevue Hill, had three bidders competing for it during last Thursday’s online auction.

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The agent said it was a seamless process and the bidders found the process easy.

The agent who sold a Bellevue Hill apartment with three online bidders last Thursday night was full of praise for the online process, saying it was “seamless”.

With the vendor in lockdown in his apartment in Germany, the two-bedroom apartment with double parking at 3/87A Birriga Rd sold for $970,000 — $20,000 above reserve — to a first homebuyer through Elliott Wasserman of Realestate Redefined.

There was little appetite for auctions at Cooley’s rooms last night: four properties were withdrawn, five sold prior and five more were postponed.

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22/9 Goomerah Cres, Darling Point sold for $1.36 million at auction last Thursday.

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It had originally been scheduled to go to auction this Thursday.

Meanwhile, the agent who sold a Darling Point apartment once owned by Lara Bingle — now Mrs Sam Worthington — was glad he’d moved his auction forward a week to last Thursday instead of Thursday this week.

Raine and Horne Double Bay’s Alex Lyons had six bidders register with all competing for the one bedder with harbour views at 22/9 Goomerah Cres that had a price guide of $1 million to $1.1 million.

It sold for $1,315,000, which was just short of the suburb record of $1.36 million for a one-bedroom apartment.

That was achieved last October, for an apartment that was 25 sqm bigger.