Sydney auctions: family ‘blown away’ after getting nearly $500,000 over reserve

A family who had held their ­Ermington home since the late 1950s were left in shock after getting close to $500,000 more than expec­ted at auction.

The brick house on Ulm St sold under the hammer for $1.788 million in front of a crowd of about 80 people, including 23 registered bidders. The reserve was $1.29 million, which selling agent Paul Tassone of Professionals-Ermington said reflected previous sales on the street of $1.23-$1.28 million in ­recent months.

“We would have been over the moon just to get over $1.3 million,” Mr Tassone said. “I knew there would be interest but if you told me before the auction it would get $1.6 million I would have said you’re crazy. Near $1.8 million I thought was impossible.”

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The higher than expected price sent shockwaves through the local community and neighbours up and down the street checked in after the sale to find out “what the hell happened”, Mr Tassone said.

“No one can believe it,” he said.

Ermington auction

Auctioneer Rocky Bartolotto calls bids at the Ermington auction. Picture: Julian Andrews.

Mr Tassone said the property ­offered scope for redevelopment but there was nothing particularly unique about it and he couldn’t fully explain why the price went so high.

“There are not a lot of options for buyers at the moment and there is a real fear of missing out but to get this, we’re pinching ourselves a bit.”

The buyer was understood to be planning a knockdown of the house to make way for a new home.

Sellers the Seage family were ­reported to have bought the property in 1959 for somewhere between £4000 and £7000.

Ermington auction

Sellers (L-R) Carole Thompson, Dianne Seage and Judy Richards grew up in the house.

The Ulm St house had last sold in the late 1950s.

One of the daughters of the original purchasers, Judy Richards, said the family were “blown away by the price” and would be celebrating.

Auctioneer Rocky Bartolotto ­received bids from eight of the registered parties and many submitted bids simultaneously.

Bidding opening at $1.1 million and it took just nine bids for the ­offers to reach $1.4 million. One of the bidders then attempted a knockout bid $100,000 above the previous offer but it failed to even slow the auction down. “In a normal market that kind of bid would have won it,” Mr Bartolotto said.

Ermington auction

The buyers were understood to be planning a knockdown.

In neighbouring suburb Melrose Park, a two-bedroom house failed to live up to its billing as an opportunity to purchase at an “entry level price”. The house on Cobham Ave sold for $1.519 million — $269,000 over the reserve.

Bidding was $50,000 over reserve from the opening bid.


More than two dozen bidders battled it out for a prized three-bedroom house across the road from Avoca Beach and it sold for a whopping $3.75 million.

110 Avoca Drive, Avoca Beach, NSW real estate.

The price for the Avoca Drive house would have been a surprise to the vendors, and agents Mat Steinwede and Steve Nixon of McGrath-Terrigal, who set a reserve of $3 million. Close to 60 groups of prospective buyers inspected the home in the lead up to the auction — a mix of owner-occupiers and families seeking a holiday home.


Yet another property price record was smashed at auction on the north shore. An East Lindfield house built in December last year sold under the hammer for $5.53 million — a new suburb record for a property under 1000sq m.

15 Woodlands Rd, East Lindfield.

The highest previous price for homes in that category was $4.65m paid in 2019. That figure likely prompted the $4.1m-$4.5m price guide for the Woodlands Rd home.

Selling agent Jessica Cao of Ray White-Upper North Shore said it wasn’t simply the price that was a shock: a dozen bidders registered, ­despite the lofty guide.

“The interest was incredible,” she said. “A lot of families wanted it.”


On the northern beaches, a three-bedroom unit sold at auction for a record price for an apartment in Manly Vale.

The property in a building at 8 Koorala Street sold for $1,467,500, about $6000 higher than the previous highest price for a unit in the suburb paid back in 2017, according to CoreLogic records.

The unit at 8 Koorala St in Manly Vale.

Selling agent Eddy Piddington said the high price was the result of Manly Vale attracting buyers who had been priced out of nearby suburbs such as Manly and Fairlight.

“They tend to pay premium prices because they are used to the prices in Manly. What they offer is expensive for Manly Vale but cheap for Manly,” he said. The Koorala Street auction attracted a dozen bidders. Half raised their bidder cards to make an offer.

“The sellers are just over the moon. It’s big money,” Mr Piddington said.

Another three-bedder in the same building sold two weeks ago for about $1.22 ­million.

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