Property Report: Wearying times in a room of broken dreams

By Bruce Morris

Bruce Morris finds some happy sellers and high emotions in an Auckland auction room

What's it really like at the scene of a real estate auction? Photo / File
What's it really like at the scene of a real estate auction? Photo / File

In a room where joy, tension and broken dreams blend in a sort of real estate concrete mixer, the young woman with the mobile to her ear tries to contain her emotions. But it's tough staying cool and quiet when the prize starts to slip away.

Before her in the downtown Barfoot & Thompson auction rooms is lot two - a nicely renovated three-bedroom home at 54 Grand Dr, Remuera - and its position on the list is an indicator of wide interest. Momentum is a helpful aid in auction psychology and there's no logic in starting the day with a property with no appeal.

The first bid is spot on the 2011 $650,000 rating capital value and the progress from there offers an insight into the growth of parts of the Auckland market over the past 18 months.

The young woman, flanked by moral support, is into the action from the word go, ear glued to the mobile as she exchanges thoughts and counsel with her partner in Singapore - and her darting eyes size up the competition.

The price dances easily in $10,000 bids until it hits $800,000, and then there's a slowing to $5000 rises. At $825,000 it looks all over as the bidding grinds to a halt, with the phone combo in command.

But a day after Melbourne Cup day, the spurt to the line is just beginning. When the bid is raised to $827,500, the young woman lets out a painful "awwwwwww!" and auctioneer Murray Smith drains some of the tension when he tells her genially: "Other people are allowed to like the house, too, you know!"

The price has plainly gone beyond their hopes, but the couple stay with the action as the bidding passes the hidden reserve at $842,000 and Smith declares "we're selling!".

The woman turns to the competition 4m away across the aisle and offers a resigned "congratulations". But she can't resist a final flourish to $842,500 - quickly trumped with a final bid of $843,000.

As the winners celebrate their success, the disconsolate woman is hugged by her supporters and slips away. Getting the house you want with the money you've got can be a wearying business in Auckland at the moment.

Elsewhere among the lots on this November auction day, the results were just a little spotty, suggesting that while a bubble has been forming over the city it is not all-embracing.

Multiple bidders will often push prices beyond seller expectation as overall values continue to rise. But discerning buyers are still looking for fair value and generally won't entertain an overly optimistic vendor.

Of the 54 properties up for sale in the main auction room, precisely half sold under the hammer - 11 of them at apparently reduced reserves as Barfoot & Thompson staff negotiated buyers up and sellers down when bidding stalled.

Of the 27 properties passed in on the day - many to sell in due course to conditional buyers - 14 drew no bid at all and seven caught the attention of lone bidders.

The listings were from across the central city, including Remuera, Mt Eden, Mission Bay, One Tree Hill, Greenlane, Epsom, Ellerslie, St Heliers, Glendowie and Onehunga.

But it was a modest 1950s bungalow on 948sq m at71 Pilkington Rd, Panmure, that did the best. On the surface, the owners might have seemed a bit optimistic by setting a reserve at $515,000 against a rating capital value of $400,000. But they were on the money. In fact, they were well ahead of it: the house sold for $590,000 - 15 per cent ($75,000) higher than reserve.

Other top results from the Day:
• 4/15 Wairiki Rd, Mt Eden: sold at $517,000 - $37,000 above reserve and 83 per cent above a CV of $365,000.
• 49 peter Buck Rd, New Windsor: sold at $799,000 - $49,000 above reserve and 50 per cent above a CV of $530,000.
• 5 August Pl, Greenlane: sold at $841,000 - $41,000 above reserve and 27 per cent above a CV of $660,000.
• 43 and 43a Ngaio st, Orakei (giving 1168sq m of land ripe for development): sold together at $1.702 million - $142,000 above reserve and 24 per cent above the combined CVs of $1.2 million.

- NZ Herald

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