Classic Sydney: Investor beats first home buyers for $1.5m Newtown fixer-upper

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Key points

  • A family home in West Pymble sold for $4.33 million. 
  • A Camperdown warehouse approved for residential conversion sold for $3.53 million. 
  • Downsizers competed for a Balmain terrace, which sold for $3,514,000.

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Investors and first home buyers went head-to-head for a Newtown terrace at auction on Saturday, pushing the price for the fixer-upper more than $400,000 above the advertised guide to $1,516,000.

Ten buyers turned out to compete for the narrow two-bedroom home, marketed as a “blank canvas”, with peeling paint throughout and a hallway that passed through the bathroom to access the back of the home.

Bidding for 242 Edgeware Road was quick to start at the $1.1 million guide, but further offers were slow to follow. Eventually bidding increased in $50,000 jumps to $1.35 million, after which it picked up momentum.

Five bidders ended up making offers and the contest came down to a local first home buyer couple and an investor – the last to enter the race – who traded $1000 and $500 bids to the end.

The home sold for $1,516,000 to the investor, who had a family member bidding on his behalf as he was out of Sydney. The written reserve was $1.3 million.

The seller, who has moved into aged care, was over the moon with the result, said her vendor advocate, Kathryn Fantov, director of Innovative Property Advocates.

The terrace at 242 Edgeware Road, Newtown.Credit: Rhett Wyman

“It was an amazing result, she’s crying,” Fantov said after calling the owner to share the outcome.

Selling agent Frederico Fraga-Matos, of BresicWhitney, said the home went well above expectations. He originally had a $1.2 million price guide but had lowered it throughout the campaign based on buyer interest.

“The market is still performing really quite well, but I’m surprised we got to this level,” he said, particularly given the recent scrapping of First Home Buyer Choice – which gave first home buyers the option to swap stamp duty for an annual property tax on homes worth up to $1.5 million.

Fraga-Matos attributed strong interest in the home to its location, rear-lane access and parking.

Selling agent Frederico Fraga-Matos with the winning bidder, who was acting on behalf of a local investor.Credit: Rhett Wyman

Records show the 164.4-square-metre property last traded for $175,000 in 1997.

BresicWhitney chief executive and auctioneer Thomas McGlynn said Sydney’s auction market was performing strongly, despite a recent uptick in homes for sale and uncertainty around interest rates.

“[This] shows there is still a really great depth of buyers in the marketplace and also shows that property with potential … is still very popular,” he said.

It was one of 488 Sydney homes scheduled for auction on Saturday.

Domain data showed Sydney recorded a clearance rate of 81.7 per cent last month, the first monthly result above 80 per cent since March 2021, as buyers compete for the few homes for sale.

In West Pymble, four families competed for a six-bedroom house that sold for $4.33 million, $380,000 above the reserve.

The house on a 1333-square-metre block at 3 Warrabri Place had a price guide of $3.5 million.

Bidding opened at that level, and two of the six registered bidders pushed the price up to the $3.95 million reserve price, after which another two parties joined in.

The home sold to a local family through Ray White Upper North Shore’s Jessica Cao.

She was shocked by the result and attributed it to the quality of the home and extremely low stock levels in her market.

The property last sold for $712,500 in 2009, and the current home was built in 2012.

In Camperdown, a warehouse with development approval to be converted into a four-bedroom home topped its 2020 sale price by $250,000.

The warehouse on a 334-square-metre block at 13-15 Northwood Street drew six registered bidders and an opening offer at the $3 million price guide.

Four of the buyers competed, pushing the price past the $3.3 million reserve to a sale price of $3.53 million. The warehouse last traded for $3.28 million in 2020.

BresicWhitney’s Shannan Whitney said the result was better than expected, particularly given the rise in interest rates and construction costs since the warehouse last traded.

“It’s not habitable, it’s not ready for occupancy, there is significant capital [that will need to be invested to transform it], there were a lot of layers of consideration for buyers.”

In Russell Lea, four families competed for a four-bedroom house at 259 Lyons Road, while the fifth registered bidder watched on.

The auction opened at $1.8 million – below the $1.9 million price guide and reserve – and bidding climbed in $20,000 increments to start. The gavel fell at $2,206,000.

The 620-square-metre property was purchased by a family who recently relocated to the area from the NSW south coast. It sold through Locale Property Agents’ Frances Rupolo.

In Balmain, it was a two-person contest for a three-bedroom terrace at 4 Fitzory Avenue, which had a $3.1 million price guide.

Two downsizers from the city’s north-west competed for the 114-square-metre block with water views, pushing bidding from an opening offer of $3 million to a sale price of $3,514,000. The reserve was $3.5 million.

The home sold through Belle Property Balmain’s Lynsey Kemp and last traded for $1,525,000 in 2007.

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