Alster House, the record price-setting Paddington terrace, failed to sell at weekend auction, highlighting the emerging buyer hesitation at the top end of the property market.
It had a $15 million guide, but was passed in after just the one $14 million bid. The agents placed a vendor bid of $14.5 million.
The grand 1880s-era residence, behind an ornate 10-metre frontage, is best known as being the first terrace to crack the $2 million mark when bought by Malcolm and Lucy Turnbull in the 1988 boom.
The Point Piper-bound Turnbulls sold it for a loss seven years later for $1.73 million.
Set on a vast 528 square metres, the home won a 2001 Australian Institute of Architects award after a redesign by architect Andrew Nolan, with gardens by landscape designer Ken Lamb, including a 25-metre lap pool.
Alster House last sold in 2006 for $6.55 million when bought by lawyer Naomi O’Brien, wife of former Macquarie executive Paul O’Brien, who added the loft-style bedroom wing and parents’ en suite.
Sydney’s top sale was when the former Woolworths executive chairman Paul Simons secured $9.35 million for his apartment in Baden House, Neutral Bay.
Simons, who joined Woolworths in 1954 and retired in 1995, was seeking a $10 million through local agent Andrew Croll and Sotheby’s Harriet France.
The five-bedroom, two-storey residence of 440 square metres cost $2.5 million in 1994.
The eight apartments on Kurraba Point share access to the communal tennis court, pool and jetty.
The underbidder at the auction lived below.
There were 850 auctions held in Sydney returning a preliminary clearance rate of 57.3 per cent.
There were 669 auctions held over the previous week and the final auction clearance rate was just 48.6 per cent, the lowest result the city has seen since mid-July.
One year ago, 1033 Sydney auctions were held and the clearance rate came in at 65.9 per cent.
Adelaide, the cheapest mainland capital city, posted the strongest result for the week, with a 63.6 per cent clearance rate from 121 properties listed.
Adelaide’s top sale was when $1.4 million was paid for 7 Oxford Terrace, Unley.
The 1915 villa got its open-plan extension in 2009 and its pool approval in 2008.
Adelaide’s cheapest sale was $475,000 for a five-bedroom house at Seacombe Gardens. There had been a $495,000 price guidance for 365 Diagonal Road which sold at $424,000 in 2008.
Adelaide experienced an increase in both auction volumes and the auction clearance rate week on week.
There were 2404 homes taken to auction across the combined capital cities, increasing from 1983 over the previous week.
Although auction volumes have been increasing over the month, 378 fewer auctions were held compared to the same week last year, predominantly due to the decline in auction volumes across Sydney and Melbourne, the two largest auction markets.
Preliminary results show a clearance rate of 55.5 per cent across the combined capital cities this week, increasing from last week’s final clearance rate of 51.8 per cent although this will revise lower as the remaining results are collected, CoreLogic auction analyst Kevin Brogan said.
“The finalised clearance rates have held in the low to mid 50 per cent range for the last eight weeks and it’s likely that this week will return a similar result,” he said.
Over the same week last year the final clearance rate was recorded at 66.2 per cent.
In Melbourne, a preliminary auction clearance rate of 55.5 per cent was recorded across 1158 auctions, while last week there were 988 auctions returning a final clearance rate of 54.1 per cent.
This time last year, 1361 auctions were held across the city, returning a clearance rate of 70.6 per cent.
Melbourne’s top sale was when 32 Gore Street, Fitzroy fetched $3.74 million.
The Nelson Alexander agency had a $3.2 million to $3.5 million price guidance.
It last sold at $370,000 in 1994.
Canberra had a preliminary rate of 55.9 per cent rate from 118 homes listed.
Jonathan Chancellor is editor at large at Property Observer