Renovators' delights rule at bidding wars Sunday sales

About 250 people turned out to watch a dilapidated Victorian homestead in bayside Hampton sell for $2.55 million at auction at the weekend.

About 250 people turned out to watch a dilapidated Victorian homestead in bayside Hampton sell for $2.55 million at auction at the weekend.

Despite holes in the roof and peeling paint, Rupertsleigh, at 43 Willis Street, attracted four bidders, keen to redevelop its large 1365-square-metre lot.

The auction started with a genuine bid of $1.8 million, and passed its $2.5 million reserve before selling under the hammer.

RT Edgar agent Rowan Thompson, who conducted the auction, said none of the parties keen to restore the property put in a bid and it would probably be redeveloped.

"There were plenty there but they did not raise their hands," he said.

The bidders ranged from people looking to build a new house and pool to others who planned to build units.

The bayside market "seems to be stronger", Mr Thompson said. "That property and other properties are getting good interest and good numbers through the open-for-inspections."

The auction clearance rate slipped again slightly over the weekend, down to 66 per cent (from 68 per cent last week), from 575 auction results reported to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria. Of the 194 properties that were passed in, 123 did so on a vendor's bid. A further 29 results are yet to be reported.

The clearance rate for the year so far is 69 per cent, which is higher than the past two years. The number of properties going to auction has improved, with listings running about 12 per cent higher than the 10-year average up to mid-May.

Next week, the REIV is expecting about 780 auctions, despite Anzac Day falling on a Thursday and potentially constituting a long weekend for some people.

The inner-northern suburb of Preston recorded a rare $1 million-plus sale on Saturday with the auction of 61 David Street.

The renovated hall, a former Salvation Army barracks, sold for $1.0625 million through Hocking Stuart. According to REIV data the last time Preston had a $1 million sale was in 2011 when 1 Bailey Avenue fetched $1.12 million.

Preston's median house price for the March quarter is $637,500, up 8.1 per cent for the year and 4.5 per cent for the quarter.

The five-bedroom house is just off Plenty Road behind a bulky goods and semi-industrial strip, but it is on a 450-square-metre triangular block.

In North Melbourne, the home of the late Victorian governor Davis McCaughey and his wife Dr Jean McCaughey sold for $1.901 million, after a long 30-minute auction in front of 100 people.

Built in 1869, the house at 36 Chapman Street needs substantial work but is on a large and rare (for North Melbourne) 652-square-metre block of land, and has off-street parking.

The auction kicked off with a $1.6 million offer from a man who brought along his own stool.

He and another bidder pushed the price to $1.85 million, when it was declared on the market. At that point, a third party emerged, but the property was finally bought by the seated bidder.

Nelson Alexander director Arch Staver, who conducted the auction, said the market had been consistent this year.

"I called four auctions on Saturday and they all sold under the hammer, all had a minimum of three bidders and I only had to make one vendor bid - that's a good sign," Mr Staver said.

His most surprising result was for an unrenovated three-bedroom terrace at 137 Amess Street in North Carlton, which sold for $1.125 million, off a reserve of $950,000.

"There were four bidders, two we knew and two who surprised us - and that's another sign of the market. People you don't expect to bid are putting up their hands," he said.

Buyer's advocate Michael Ramsay said the market was picking up.

"If we have five gears, we're about to go into third gear," he said.

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