Buyer Robert Isgro celebrates the auction win with girlfriend Bryar Hawkins. Picture: Luke Drew
THE joy in the young couple’s faces says it all: they’re moving into their first home together after Boral concretor Robert Isgro, 28, bought a unit for $830,000 at auction this morning.
And it’s even got a harbour view.
McGrath agent Nick Harrington had seven bidders register for the one-bedroom unit at 1 /4 Ithaca Rd, Elizabeth Bay, which had a $700,000 price guide, but he had four first home buyers fight for it.
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“It’s the best market we’ve ever seen for first home buyers,” he said.
They were all shy to start with, with auctioneer Adrian Bo needing to kick things off with a vendor bid at the price guide. Though bidding then took off in $10,000 increments.
Mr Isgro was the most aggressive, making a $30,000 opening bid. A load “hooray” — and a hug — with his girlfriend of three years, Bryar Hawkins, 24 — followed his successful purchase.
Mr Isgro said he’d “been saving all my life” for a deposit and didn’t need financial help from his parents.
Robert Isgro with girlfriend, Bryar Hawkins, after their auction win in Elizabeth Bay Picture: Luke Drew
“We’re very excited,” Mr Isgro said. They’re renting in nearby Macleay St and been looking for about a year.
Unlike many couples buying in the current market, they didn’t have an issue getting finance, saying the key was having a decent deposit and a good mortage broker.
“We’ve been trying to find the right property and waiting for the market to cool,” Ms Hawkins said.
It’s certainly done that.
The unit had a sunroom with a harbour view..
Economist Andrew Wilson, of My Housing Market, said price drops across Sydney meant first home buyers had a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
“They can look at markets they couldn’t consider previously because the opportunities are there with other buyers on strike,” Dr Wilson said.
“And in places like the east where prices might be cheaper but still expensive, he suggested they look to their parents for the deposit: “Why not push for 50 grand or 100 grand …. the market will bounce back eventually.”
The bedroom at 1/4 Ithaca Rd, Elizabeth Bay
In data compiled exclusively for the Sunday Telegraph, the economist said dwellings (houses and apartments combined) sold at auction on Saturdays were 5.4 per cent cheaper this September compared with last.
Although the biggest price falls were in the north-west (19.5 per cent) and west (16.5 per cent), they were 4.5 per cent cheaper on the lower north shore; 2.7 per cent cheaper in the inner west; 1.9 per cent cheaper in the east and 1.5 per cent cheaper on the northern beaches.
Buyers could also take advantage of properties being 7.8 per cent cheaper on the central coast and 7.3 per cent lower in Sydney’s southern suburbs.
The marble bathroom at 1/4 Ithaca Rd, Elizabeth Bay
The research director of CoreLogic, Tim Lawless, said sellers in many areas were changing tack. “They’re opting for private treaty because auction clearance rates are so low.”
The vendors at Potts Point, Kym Cowley, an academic in marketing at the University of Newcastle, and Stephen Cowley, a musician, said they’d been hoping for $875,000.
“They got a really good buy,” Mrs Cowley said.
“But you can’t hang out and hang out; you’ve got to accept what’s on the table.
“It’ll all come out in the wash, you’ve just got to keep moving.”
Vendors Kym and Stephen Crowley after the auction of their apartment 1/4 Ithaca Rd, Elizabeth Bay. Picture: Luke Drew
They were selling the unit, which had been a wreck when they’d bought it for $350,000 in 2006 though they did a $170,000 renovation in 2009, to fund the purchase of an old mansion they’ve just bought in Newcastle.
“We got that for a great price,” Mrs Cowley said.
She said part of the appeal of the ground-floor unit had been its “rapid access to the park to carry a tray of cocktails out”.
Their daughter had lived in the apartment for a short period, but it had mainly been an investment. They’d been collecting $640 a week in rent. “We’ve never had 24 hours where we didn’t have a tenant,” Mrs Cowley said.