It was a day of unusual auctions — first an ice cream truck cut through a crowd of buyers bidding on a Darlington terrace and later a child threw a spanner in the works at a Stanmore auction by putting in offers.
But neither incident nor distractions at other auctions like plane noise and a surprise morning fog seemed to prevent a mix of properties from selling at bumper prices under the hammer yesterday.
The Stanmore house on Myrtle St sold for $2.8 million in front of a crowd of about 80 people, pipping the reserve price by $400,000.
The auction had earlier threatened to get derailed when a bidder wearing a camouflage hat got into an argument with the auctioneer about the amount he had just offered.
Bidding had already kicked off at $2.24 million mere seconds after auctioneer Ricky Briggs had introduced the home, with the man putting in a second bid of $2.25 million initially mistaken by other buyers to be $2.5 million.
The offer was quickly countered by the opening bidder, with bidding racing to $2.6 million as more buyers entered the fray.
The auction soon became a contest between a couple and a man bidding on his own, who pushed offers to $2.71 million.
Just when the home looked poised to sell, a new buyer entered the auction with a $2.73 million bid, but the man was able to counter it and ultimately emerged the winner with the final price of $2.8 million.
Unusually, the auctioneer was not the one to drop the hammer on the sale. That distinction went to a young girl who had been standing next to the auctioneer trying to participate throughout the auction.
Mr Briggs called the home three times and handed her the gavel to let her do the honours, much to her delight and cheers from the crowd.
“Stanmore is a very warm and welcoming place and the locals just wanted to be part of the sale,” Mr Briggs said. “I felt like the girl was there beside me the whole time and we were on a journey together.”
Selling agent Blake Lowry of Belle Property-Annandale received 10 registrations. Six bidders took an active part in the auction.
“It was a great result,” he said. “The home ticked all the boxes … buyers have been waiting for something like this for two years.”
Earlier in the day, a crowd of about 70 people spilt onto the street outside a terrace on Lander St in Darlington for the auction of a deceased estate, only for it to get interrupted by a passing ice-cream truck.
It winded its way slowly through the crowd chiming Greensleeves and auctioneer Charlie Powell of Under the Hammer joked that proceedings would need to wait until “Mr Whippy passed”.
The four-bedroom deceased estate in rundown condition eventually sold for $1.6 million, $200,000 over reserve.
Selling agent Duncan Gordon of Raine and Horne-Newtown said the result showed the market was beginning to change.
“It’s too early to say if it is bottoming out but it’s clear that buyers have become active again at a time when there still isn’t much (stock) available,” Mr Gordon said.
Mr Powell received an opening bid of $1 million from the eventual buyers, a Chinese couple holding a “lucky” bidder no. 8 card. Four other buyers took part in the auction out of the 13 who registered to bid.
“It was a very positive result for the market,” Mr Powell said.
The buyers are understood to be planning a renovation and will live in the home. They were instantly welcomed by neighbours living on the street after winning the auction.
“There is a village feel to Darlington and Lander St is one of the best streets,” Mr Gordon said.
In Balmain, a three-bedroom house on Wells St sold under the hammer for $2.4 million, $100,000 over reserve.
Selling agent Monique Dower said there was “immense” interest in the home.
“At every inspection there was a flock of people coming through to view it,” she said. “People loved the location (and) harbour views on all three levels.”
In nearby inner west suburb Marrickville, a three-bedroom Federation-style house on Perry St sold for $1.22 million, $80,000 over reserve.
Ray White-Petersham director Nicholas Arena said there were 126 inspections throughout the marketing campaign and three bidders registered. “Both buyer and vendor are very happy,” he said.
A Redfern house at 87 Boronia St sold for $1.32 million, $100,000 above the opening bid. Selling agent Charles Touma of Ray White Touma Group showed more than 100 buyers through the home and seven registered to bid.