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Are buyers still searching for renovation projects?

By Holly Darwon

BEING raised in a family real estate business in the 1990s, most mid-week dinner table conversations were decorated with tales of appraisals, sales, negotiations and encounters from the day.

Now “decorated” is not the word my younger brother Charlie would use.

He was not in real estate. He would swap the word “decorated” with “dragged down”, “filled with boring details of” or he may use the word and simply insert an eye roll.

One of the areas that featured heavily in those conversations was the region around Fegen Drive, Moorooka.

This precinct was lined with fibro cottages that had once supported the local ammunition barracks.

These homes were among the cheapest in the area and it seems like only yesterday I was selling them for under $70,000.

Charlie was so fed up with these yarns he coined the expression, “I don’t want to hear another story about Fegen Drive”.

So with that in mind I’m always a little reluctant to share stories from that area but, as is almost always the case, I will anyway and I’ll begin the same way we always did.

“I’m sorry Charlie but I have to tell this story, I’ll be quick.”

Last Saturday I ventured back to the Fegen Drive precinct down to Scherger St, Moorooka.

It had been a few years since I’d really spent any time back in that area.

Like most previously affordable areas, it was full of young couples, renovations and the bubbly feel of an emerging market.

Scherger St offers elevation and a mix of brick and tile homes.

The house I was auctioning had been renovated with total consideration for the likely buyer.

The home had a seamless transition from the living space to the back garden and the blades of grass were so perfect it looked like they’d be combed.

The local agent Michael Nolan noted it ticked almost every box for the many young couples who inspected, that the owners were fastidious with getting every detail right and that their effort was subsequently rewarded with 16 registered bidders.

The result was a record for a three-bedroom home in the area selling under the hammer for $775,200.

After a year where DIYs were all the rage, has the baton been passed on?

I spoke with one of the underbidders after the auction.

A young man who was there with his wife and young son hunting for a new home.

They’d looked at everything from semi-rural blocks to inner-city renovators.

Their research was now no longer exclusive to familiar suburbs and that this was the first time they’d investigated Moorooka, having seen the property advertised.

He said the renovation had suited their stage of life and that while they had originally wanted to do the work themselves, they were now “worn down” by missing out and just wanted something they could move straight into.

It’s still early days for 2017 with many properties likely to hit the market in the post-Australia Day wave.

The results of the next six weeks will tell us whether the Scherger St sale was just a one-off or a sign of things to come.

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