Nicole Lindsay September 03, 2012
Harry Kewell's temporary residence at 2a Collins Street, Brighton, sold for $2.95 million.
THE Brighton townhouse that Harry Kewell and his family lived in, during his short stint with A-League team Melbourne Victory, sold late last week for $2.95 million.
The luxurious townhouse, developed by St Kilda Football Club director John Gdanski and former player Fraser Gehrig, at 2a Collins Street, was previously for sale at $3.15 million.
Kewell and his family lived there for less than a year and left suddenly in June a few months before their 12-month lease expired.
A stoush over $28,000 in unpaid rent on the property was reportedly settled last week with Melbourne Victory, whose name is on the lease, footing the bill.
The sale of the Nicholas Day-designed house was negotiated privately by Buxton agents Brian Devlin and Regina Schmidt.
Buxton director Leigh Hallamore said the team had also sold two other luxury Brighton properties: 36 Normanby Street for $4.8 million and 7 Park Street for $3.98 million. The vendors of the latter house had paid $4.4 million in 2008.
''If both vendors hadn't been prepared to meet the market, these houses would still be for sale,'' Mr Hallamore said.
''But if you buy and sell in the same market you don't have to suffer. The vendors of Park Street ended up buying a property much more cheaply than they expected.''
It is proving much harder to sell luxury-end property by auction. On Saturday, the start of the spring selling season, the most valuable property going to auction, 779 Orrong Road, Toorak, passed in on a $7 million vendor bid by Kay & Burton.
Data collected by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria indicated the auction clearance rate remained steady at 62 per cent from 455 results.
Despite the 171 passed-in properties (112 of which were on vendor bids) there were reports of strong auctions with multiple bidders.
Advantage Property director Frank Valentic said there were nine bidders at the auction of 24b Monroe Street in Brighton, which sold for $860,000, well above its $750,000 reserve.
''It was like being in a time warp,'' Mr Valentic said.
In South Yarra, a gracious freestanding Victorian villa was bought back by the family who had held it for more than 110 years.
Descendants of Mary Henshall Harding, the widow who originally built the property in 1891, paid $2.15 million on Saturday to bring it back into the family fold.
It was previously sold in 2003. Saturday's vendors beat three other bidders in an executor's auction for the house, paying $1.16 million.
There were two other bidders at the auction, conducted by Marshall White's Andrew Hayne and the property was on the market at $2.11 million.
Agents are grimly realistic about the spring market with many forecasting low stock levels and flat prices.
Nelson Alexander director Arch Staver, who auctioned the highest-selling townhouse at 2/108 Moor Street in Fitzroy for more than $1.45 million, said he has only a handful of good properties coming up for spring.
''But there's a lot of negative sentiment out there and there's not a lot of depth to the buyer demand,'' Mr Staver said.
''In reality, there's a lot of B-listed properties on the market,'' Mr Staver said.
James Tostevin, who sold the top house at 15 Torrington Place in Canterbury for $3.25 million, was slightly more optimistic but only because his patch in Boroondara has held up well over winter.
''I've sold 11 out of my last 13 auctions, and nine of those 11 had at least two bidders,'' Marshall White's Mr Tostevin said.
''I think the market's evenly priced. It's not slumping but it's not increasing either. People can upgrade with some confidence so long as they're realistic about their property's value,'' he said.