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.’’

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