POPULAR: 89 Tooke Street, Cooks Hill, sold for $1.04 million. BLIND BUY: 1/2a Beverley Crescent, New Lambton Heights, was bought unseen.
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It is a rare event when a buyer walks into an on-site auction and becomes the successful bidder without having seen the property before, let alone doing due diligence such as pest and building.

Raine & Horne Newcastle agent Josh Manna said he had just that scenario play out recently when he auctioned a two-bedroom townhouse at 1/2a Beverley Crescent, New Lambton Heights.

The buyer bought the property at auction without ever seeing it before, paying $337,000 on the fall of the hammer.

‘‘There were five registered bidders,’’ Mr Manna said.

‘‘He had missed out on a property that morning; he walked in and had a quick look and was ready to go.

‘‘It happens once in a blue moon. Hence the reason we do auctions, because anything can happen.’’

Mr Manna also sold 383 Glebe Road, Merewether, prior to its scheduled auction last weekend for $492,500.

He said vendors sold prior to auction if the money was right and the offer was unconditional.

‘‘It was pretty much what the owner was happy with,’’ he said.

The Glebe Road property was one of 18 scheduled for auction last weekend, as reported to Australian Property Monitors.

Of those, another five sold prior to auction and four sold under the hammer – a clearance rate of 55.55per cent.

Another sold prior was Elbrook – the Bar Beach house belonging to Knights chief executive Matt Gidley and his wife Larissa, which fetched $1.76 million through PRDnationwide agent George Rafty.

Mr Rafty also squared away two others prior to last Saturday’s scheduled auctions – 16 Pindari Close, Charlestown, for $745,000 and 89 Tooke Street, Cooks Hill, for $1.04 million.

The large number of properties sold prior could indicate a willingness by vendors or buyers to get a deal settled before Christmas, considering it can be difficult to find solicitors and conveyancers over the Christmas/January holiday period.

But George Rafty said he didn’t believe it was just the run-up to Christmas motivating buyers,citing a busy market over the past six months.

‘‘Ever since March, it has been incredibly busy – as busy as I have seen it,’’ he said.

‘‘We had a record month last month of sales, there has been other big months this year, but last month was the biggest.’’

He said numbers at open houses were very strong.

There were more than 20 attendees at first inspections and some properties sold at the first open home, for instance.

‘‘Although the [first-home owners] grant has lapsed, we are still getting a lot of people looking at that cheaper end of the market,’’ Mr Rafty said.

He said confidence was now also flowing into the mid- and upper-range markets as well.

People in the upper end of the market believed, he said, that now was the time to be buying.

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