We speak to the team behind last week’s most intriguing property sale.
The property: A freestanding house on 270 square metres at 1 Vaughan Place, Redfern, NSW. Sold before auction for $3,050,000.
Who was the agent/agency? Shannan Whitney, BresicWhitney InnerEast.
How long was this on the market? Sixteen days.
The freestanding house on 270 square metres at 1 Vaughan Place in inner-east Sydney’s Redfern sold before auction for $3,050,000.  
Why did this one sell? [Whitney] The price offered was above the vendor’s expectations.
Was it overpriced? No. It’s in line with Redfern land prices.
What did you think it would go for? I thought it would go for around $2.75 million.
What was surprising about it?
I’ve never experienced in my 30 years in real estate a case when a house is just left. It was surprising to see how a once-diamond in the area quickly becomes a dilapidated dump. I remember it as a very stylish, quirky, design-led house.
Once stylish, now a dump: The house was unliveable.  
There was nothing sinister to it. Just circumstances, time and the pandemic meant he wasn’t able to come for a while.
It’s sitting in a back laneway in Redfern. It was designed by artist Peter Powditch and it was really creative, big and quirky. When he [the vendor] bought it, a house like this in downtown Redfern was pretty remarkable and at the time, it was a pretty well-regarded house in the area.
[Records show Mr Powditch sold it for $645,000 in 2000.]
I remember sitting in the auction room when he bought it. I wasn’t selling it, but I was interested. It was a public auction.
It had a lot of appeal and sold in a very competitive environment. To see it go from that to what I’ve seen in 2023, it moved into a dilapidated version that you could barely live in.
Only two parties fought it out: In a stronger market, the opportunity could have drawn many more buyers. 
It was his home up until seven years ago, when he left Sydney. He went to a lot of different places.
I was really surprised to see how much it deteriorated in that condition. Seven years is not a long time, but long enough, it seems.
He was aware the house was deteriorating, but other things took his attention. He came back to Sydney and was surprised by how much it had deteriorated. He wasn’t planning initially on selling but when he came back and saw the house, he realised it was too big a job for him.
This house is surrounded by trees. It was the garden that really took over. It grew into the house.
The garden really took over: Water that entered the house ruined it.  
Structurally, the foundations and the besser brick columns were intact. But the water and weather got in upstairs and made their way into the house.
For properties sold in the undeveloped form – the market values it differently if they can live in it. The whole category of buyer changes. The new build market is very different to the buy-live-deal-with-it market.
In the current conditions, with the risks in the market, with the cost of debt, where the cost of debt is going, the cost of building – which is a major issue at the moment – the caution and nervousness, when you get into this part of the market, your buyer pool really starts to thin out.
It looked a bit mysterious, creepy. We had [another] rate rise. We were a little apprehensive about it.
In more normalised conditions, these are the sort of [sales] that really do get the market going. But it wasn’t like that. We only had a pool of two to three buyers. It wasn’t deep competition.
Best to let it go: Returning to the house after seven years made the owner decide renovating it was too big a job for him. 
So how much did his neglect and timing cost him?
What changes is the buyer pool changes a lot. You might see the price change by 5 per cent to 10 per cent.
So that’s up to $300,000 on what he could have got?
I wouldn’t say it’s dramatic. We were very pleased with the outcome. We were a bit more cautious about it when started.
The buyer was a young couple from the eastern suburbs.
There were three young groups – two in particular – who had the vision and the future sense of buying it and building a new house, creating something interesting.
It was going to be a public auction. Halfway through, the two decided to make a play. They made offers around the $3 million mark, which we thought were very good. The vendor said, “I’m happy with that” and ended up getting a quick settlement.
Do you reckon we’ll see another result like this: a) next week b) next year c) next cycle d) never?
c) Next cycle. There are less and less of these opportunities and circumstances that appear, certainly in our market.
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