Coronavirus: Sydney’s last on-site auctions deliver mixed results as some buyers ‘felt opportunistic’

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Auctioneer Peter Matthews and principal Ron Bauer at Ray White Bondi conducting some of the last Sydney on-site auctions before they were banned due to the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Jonathan Ng

All five apartments that went under the hammer in Bondi failed to find a buyer whereas four properties sold in the west in what were some of Sydney’s last public auctions for the foreseeable future.

PM Scott Morrison’s ban on public auctions and open homes came into effect at midnight so agents had scrambled to bring forward the sales — those in Bondi carefully staged in agent offices with one out west at a Strathfield car park.

In Bondi, Ray White Unlimited principal Ron Bauer said all the buyers who turned up had “felt opportunistic” and seen the auction at the agency’s offices as “an opportunity to snag a bargain”.

However, he and colleague Hamish McMaster expect some of the apartments will sell over the next 48 hours, with the auction having done its job of bringing the properties to the attention of buyers.

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Everyone was standing a safe distance away from each other. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Bauer said the vendors were coming at tonight’s auction from a different perspective to the bargain hunters.

“Our clients didn’t come onto the market in uncertain times — they started this process in an excellent market … arguably a booming market.

“But the world has changed in the last month and this is where we’ve landed.”

However he didn’t feel the exercise was in any way a waste of time — he expects that most if not all will sell over the next two weeks as they are all great properties that have interest.

“I don’t believe these results reflect the reality of the situation … there’s still plenty of interest in property despite the coronavirus,” Bauer said.

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Bidders wait to enter the auction room at the agent offices. Picture: Jonathan Ng

With auctioneer Pete Matthews presiding, Bauer said there’d been 10 registered bidders across the five properties with an average of two each.

Half were online, using auctioneer Damien Cooley’s AuctionNow by Realtair platform, and others spread out a safe distance from each other in the auction room.

The apartments looked like great opportunities, including a two-bedroom apartment above a shop at 8/64-66 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach that had sweeping beach views with a price guide of $1.6 million. It’s understood to have passed in for about $1.35 million (one bidder on the phone and two others in the room).

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This two-bedroom apartment at 8/66 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach passed in for $1.35 million.

Despite it having no parking, Bauer said he expected that one would sell quickly.

The other properties included a two-bedroom, two-bathroom garden apartment one street back from the beach at 5/24 Gardyne St, Bronte, which had a price guide of $1.3 million (no bids, one registered); a four-bedroom, three-bathroom apartment with three-car garage at 51 Warners Ave, Bondi Beach with a guide of $2.5 million (four registered, three active with the best real bid $2.35 million; there was then a vendor bid of $2.5 million); a one-bedder with garage at 2/34 Beach Rd, Bondi Beach with a guide of $850,000 (there were three online bidders but it passed in on a vendor bid of $825,000); and a two-bedder with no parking at 3/23 Beach Rd, Bondi Beach with an $850,000 guide that passed in on a vendor bid of $850,000.

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There were no bids for 5/24 Gardyne St, Bronte.

In the west, Vivek Tailor of Richard Matthews Real Estate said all the sellers left happy to have sold as the coronavirus impact weighed heavily.

Buyers included first-home buyers and investors.

Two registered bidders lined up safely apart at the agency’s backyard car park for the auction of 28A Rigby Crescent in Chipping Norton. Both competed before it sold for $851,000. The reserve had been $849,000. Bidding opened at $810,000 and rose in increments of $10s, fives, and then ones.

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No. 28A Rigby Cres, Chipping Norton, sold for $851,000.

The other results included 9/27-29 Cecil St, Ashfield, which sold for $752,000 to a first-home buyer. The reserve had been $684,000.

No. 96 Campbell Hill Rd, Chester Hill — a duplex site — sold to a developer for $920,000 and 6 Carlyle St, Enfield sold for $1,180,000.