The sun also shone on this Clifton Hill terrace, selling for $1.15 million, well above its $940,000 reserve. Photo: Ken Irwin Milking it: The milk bar in Lennox Street fetched well above the reserve. Photo: Domain
Shanghai night field

To be turned into a family home: Inside the Lennox Street premises. Photo: Domain

A Richmond milk bar opposite the Housing Commission flats and the All Nations Hotel fetched a robust $1.251 million at auction during the weekend, a sign of the strength underpinning the start of the spring market.

Melbourne’s auction clearance rate was 75 per cent from 658 auctions, according to the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, trailing Sydney’s 84 per cent from 398 results.

Melbourne’s result is lower than last week’s 79 per cent but well up on the 63 per cent for this weekend last year. While 166 properties were passed in, 92 on vendors’ bids, 71 were sold before auction. Many results – 157 – have not been reported. That will drag down the final clearance rate.

The Edwardian double-storey shop and four-bedroom residence at 66 Lennox Street on a 218.4-square-metre block has an unusually wide 7.8-metre street frontage and the rear stables.

Six bidders competed for the house, which Biggin and Scott had quoted at $750,000-$850,000, and several more were knocked out early by an opening bid of $820,000.

Some 30 bids later, auctioneer Andrew Crotty went inside to check with the vendors. The move caused some consternation among the 150-strong crowd given the high price reached at that point.

Mr Crotty said the couple, who had run the milk bar for several decades, still had to be consulted before the hammer came down, even though it was well past the $850,000 reserve. ”It wasn’t the price. It was the selling of it. They weren’t quite ready to relinquish it,” Mr Crotty said.

The price, at $5728 a square metre, was a record for that strip of Richmond. The property, which still has its milk bar trappings, will be renovated and turned into a family home, he said.

Wakelin Property Advisory director Richard Wakelin said it was a difficult property to value given the scope of the renovation and the proximity to the pub and the flats.

”But you could run a home office from it and have off-street parking for two cars. And, as for being close to the flats, well, it’s all part of the acceptance of inner-suburban living now, that you’ll be living close up to all kinds of housing,” Mr Wakelin said.

Prices have been rising all year and would continue to climb, stoked by low interest rates, he said.

”It’s remarkable that the removal of the first home buyer’s grant for established homes didn’t result in the first home buyers’ departure from the market. There is a real urgency again because they want to try and lock in low interest rates,” Mr Wakelin said.

He acted for the vendors of 76 Donald Street, in Prahran, one of an unrenovated 1940s duplex, which fetched $825,000 through Hocking Stuart.

”In March, its neighbour, which is a mirror image but also had a garage, sold for $772,500,” he said.

”We set the reserve at $760,000 – just below the price the neighbouring property sold at – and there were five bidders, a mix of first home buyers and investors,” he said.

”The interest rates are helping the growing mood of confidence but people are also expecting the Canberra situation to stabilise after next weekend.”

Auctions and private sales have been tracking evenly all year but this week auctions significantly outnumbered the 372 reported private sales. Auctions are traditionally set for more competitive properties and can trail off at the upper end of the market.

While Marshall White’s Justin Long sold 6 Heymount Close, Toorak, under the hammer for $4.05 million, RT Edgar director Jeremy Fox did not get a bid for 141 New Street, Brighton, which passed in on a vendor bid of $5.3 million. Mr Fox said his vendors were considering an offer.

A private sale in Princes Hill set a record for the area. Woodards sold a renovated double-fronted house, Ormuz, at 299 Pigdon Street for $3.95 million.

Woodards director Jason Sharpe said there was a handful of offers on Thursday afternoon at the close of the private deadline with two bidders in the running.

”It had an underground garage, lifts to the two upper levels and quality fittings. The vendors had renovated it with plans to move in but they changed their minds and decided to stay where they were,” he said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.