There was a red-hot competition when a towering Stawell landmark went to weekend auction.
The Victorian town’s historic fire station fetched $360,000, well above its envisaged $200,000 sale price.
Monaghan estate agent Terry Monaghan said the converted Victorian Romanesque-style building in the Wimmera region ignited interest from buyers across Victoria.
But it sold to a local chiropractor who needed more space.
There were seven disappointed buyers.
“Anything with a tower or steeple, people go crazy,” Mr Monaghan said.
The heritage-protected station and adjoining bell tower date back to the 1880s when designed by architect George Inskip for the volunteer fire brigade.
It was sold by the Country Fire Authority in 1991 for $48,000 before being bought by the current vendors in 2008 at $151,000. They then converted the first floor into an open-style apartment.
The station was one of the first buildings in Stawell, 230 kilometres from the Melbourne CBD.
Set in an elevated position, the tower offers views over the town and towards the Grampians National Park.
Heritage Victoria lists it as one of the few intact 19th-century fire stations with a bell tower remaining in Victoria.
Another historic property for sale in Stawell is at 17 Leslie Street, which was built as the home for Stawell’s first police superintendent in 1869.
Agent Ross Matthews has it listed at $465,000.
There were 1472 homes taken to auction across the combined capital cities this week, increasing from 1026 over the prior week, although still much lower than the 2300 this week last year.
CoreLogic’s preliminary results put the national clearance rate at 58.8 per cent, up from last week’s final clearance rate of 50.4 per cent.
The same time last year saw the clearance rate at 62.1 per cent.
“Once final results are collected, the final clearance rate will most likely revise down to the low 50 per cent range,” auction analyst Kevin Brogan said.
In Melbourne, 678 homes were taken to auction, up from 498 over the previous week. The same week last year saw 1144 homes taken to auction across the city.
Melbourne’s preliminary auction clearance rate came in at 60 per cent, up from 53 per cent over the previous week, although lower than this time last year (63 per cent).
A South Yarra apartment sold for $1.58 million, $180,000 over reserve, when offered for the first time since it was built in 1935.
The 3/7 Alexandra Avenue offering, with Yarra River views, sold through Biggin & Scott agent Tom McCarthy who had five bidders.
The Herald Sun reported the successful buyers were from the country. They will use it as a bolt hole.
Sydney was host to 535 auctions this week, with preliminary results returning a 66.6 per cent clearance rate across the initial 326 results.
Over the previous week, 332 auctions were held across the city, and a final clearance rate of 52 per cent was recorded.
This time last year, 63 per cent of the 797 Sydney homes auctioned were successful.
The highest residential sale in Sydney from yesterday was 27A Kingsland Road, Strathfield for $2.78 million though Richardson and Wrench Strathfield.
It last sold for $1.4 million in 2005.
Across the smaller auction markets, Brisbane was the only city to see a fall in both auction volumes and the clearance rate week on week, while year on year, all capital cities saw a fall in auction volumes.
Brisbane’s priciest sale of $1.15 million was a five-bedroom, 2006-built Queenslander at 102 Belgrave Street, Morningside which had sold in 2013 for $900,000.
The nation’s cheapest result was a pre-auction sale in St Kilda at $198,500.
Hockingstuart advertised the Cosmos studio at 4/42 Waterloo Crescent as affordable. At less than 30 square metres, it last sold for $131,000 in 2007.
The late 1950s unit was marketed with a price guide of $190,000 to $209,000.
Jonathan Chancellor is editor at large at Property Observer