Full house as ‘panic buyers’ pack auction
‘‘I thought my heart was going to come out ofmymouth’’
It should have been an empty room with enough space to swing a cat. Instead it was stifling hot, and packed so full the line went right out the door and down the stairs.
Welcome to the frantic world of real estate auctions in Wellington as the deadline looms for a clampdown on lending.
On Thursday a simple fourbedroom house in the Porirua suburb of Titahi Bay, without a garage, drew five times the usual number expected for an auction of such a property.
Harcourts auctioneer Wayne Sutton said the turnout for the sale of the bungalow was a sign of ‘‘panic buyers’’ desperate to use pre-approved loans before stricter minimum deposit requirements kick in.
Instead of the usual five or six registered bidders, the auction had 26 of them.
Bidding started at the rateable value of $350,000, caught its breath at $420,0000, before it surged up to $510,000. The hammer dropped at $516,000. It was over in minutes. In the last stage of the auction, as the bidding flew up in $1000 amounts, a woman sat with her head in her hands, her lips mov- ing seemingly in prayer.
She was one half of a couple who became the new owners.
They were ushered into a quiet side room to sign on the dotted line for their home.
They did not wish to be named, but said they were Wellington renters, and this was their first home.
Priced out of the city, they had to look north to Porirua. They saw the house for the first time on Sunday, fell in love, and bought it four days later.
The husband said he would ‘‘drink myself silly tonight’’ and the wife said it felt like an out-ofbody experience.
‘‘I thought my heart was going to come out of my mouth.’’
The sellers were a couple who bought the house five years ago and were delighted the home hadn’t been sold to investors.
The auction came after an about-24 day marketing campaign and agent Lynette Donoghue said dozens of people had viewed the property.
This week New Zealand’s biggest banks announced changes to tighten lending to investors and home buyers.
While one family was moving out and one was moving in to the Titahi Bay home, both had something in common.
Both husbands said they would have a celebratory alcoholic drink, but both women would have something a little lighter.
The buyers are expecting their first child in six months - the sellers have a baby of their own which might mean a quieter night for her mum.
‘‘I’m breast feeding, but I may have some sparkling grape juice.’’