A RENOVATED Federation house in Middle Park fetched $4.4 million at auction yesterday after languishing for months on the market for sale privately.
The auction of 64 Armstrong Street attracted a large crowd and two bidders. The winning bidder is believed to be thoroughbred fancier and tuna tycoon Tony Santic, who won the Melbourne Cup three times with Makybe Diva. Cayzer director Michael Szulc would not comment when asked about the auction and Mr and Mrs Santic did not respond to attempts to contact them.
It was a strong result for the fully renovated five-bedroom house, which was rumoured to have sold for $4.25 million six weeks ago in an off-market deal that collapsed.
Middle Park has turned in some strong private sales recently with 226 Danks Street selling for about $7 million and 30 St Vincent Place fetching about $6.5 million.
The auction clearance rate held steady at 60 per cent on Sunday, according to data collected by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, from the results of 853 auction. A further 86 results are yet to be counted.
Buyer advocate David Morrell said vendors were more motivated than buyers but that did not turn into definite sales. Of the 316 properties that did not sell, 201 were passed in on a vendor's bid.
Houses performed better than units and apartments with clearance rates, respectively, of 64 per cent and 54 per cent.
Agents are reporting increased enthusiasm from vendors wanting to sell before Christmas or early in February, spurred on by the prospect of an interest rate cut from the Reserve Bank this week or early next year.
Hocking Stuart director Will Walton, who sold 18 Cromwell Crescent, South Yarra, for $1.775 million on Saturday, said more and more buyers were jumping in to the the market because of interest rate drops.
''That's why people haven't been reluctant to auction in December. We expect to get some listings on Monday for properties that may go to auction on December 22 or February 16 - that's unusually late and unusually early,'' Mr Walton said.
In the west, Jas H. Stephens director Craig Stephens said December was shaping up to be very busy for his office. ''We've come off a very good November, one of the best we've had in seven years. What's happened is interest rate movement,'' Mr Stephens said.
The new Jellis Craig Kensington office, headed by John Morello, sold a converted church at 1 Hudson Street in Moonee Ponds for $2.4 million.
Jellis Craig director Alastair Craig said agents would hold twilight auctions this December in a bid to get through the remaining sales. ''We are booking quite well for February, but I'd like to see more people committing to it,'' Mr Craig said.