Crowds descend on first Sydney open homes with queues snaking down the street

Crowds of home seekers have been storming Sydney’s open for inspections, with queues of would-be buyers seen snaking down the street at many newly listed properties.

Agents reported multiple listings with more than 50 groups of would-be buyers going through the doors, including a Glebe townhouse that attracted 80 groups and a Petersham house with 60 groups. Thirty groups at a single inspection is generally considered within the industry to be an excellent turnout.

Most attendees were understood to have started their search for a new home this year.

It comes as PropTrack data showed buyers have been grappling with a shortage of new listings this year, with the scarce supply of ready-to-move into properties funneling buyers to the same properties.

A line of buyers queue up to see 15/11 Rosebank st, Glebe on January 21, 2023. Picture: Adrian William

Buyers queue at a Petersham open home. Picture: Adrian William

The same trend has given the auction market an early boost in January, with a property in Castle Hill in the northwest selling for more than $500,000 above the owner’s already lofty reserve price.

There was also a Guildford property in Western Sydney sold at auction for a new suburb record.

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Adrian Tsavalas, whose agency Adrian Willian hosted the Glebe townhouse inspection, said it has been a “busier than normal January” for inspections.

“It’s at the same level it was in 2021, right before the market boomed,” Mr Tsavalas said, adding that it was too early to tell if the crowded open homes represented a sustained “recovery” for the market.

“There could be a lot of people who have decided this is the year they’re going to buy … there just isn’t a huge amount that’s for sale,” Mr Tsavalas said.

Auctioneer Stu Benson calls bids at the auction of 19 Ulundri Drive, Castle Hill on the weekend.

The three-bedroom Glebe townhouse on Rosebank St is listed with a price guide of $1.25m. Mr Tsavalas said more people would have attended the inspection if they could find parking.

“We’ve had requests for private viewings from a few people who couldn’t find a place to put their cars on the weekend,” he said.

There was a similar crowd of eager buyers at inspections in Petersham, Marrickville and Dulwich Hill. Another listing, for a Newtown home opposite the train line, attracted 40 groups.

In Erskineville, Ray White agent Moira Verheijen had to split one of her inspections on Amy St into two sessions to accommodate the crowds – nearly 30 groups came through each session.

12 West St, Guildford sold at auction for a new suburb record in January 2023.

In Cromer, on the northern beaches, 60 groups came through the first inspection for a house.

There was also strong bidding activity at the few auctions scheduled over the weekend.

A crowd of about 100 people, including registered bidders, were observed at the auction for a four-bedroom house on Ulundri Dr in Castle Hill.

The property sold for just over $2.26m – $561,500 – above the vendor’s $1.7m set in consultation with Stone Real Estate agents Jane Booty and Viviane Mylott.

Auctioneer Stu Benson of Benson Auctions received 46 bids, including an opening bid of $1.5m.

The buyer lived directly across the road and is planning to replace the home with a new build. His adult children will then move into his existing house on the other side of the street.

“Whist I don’t think this is a preview of the 2023 market by any stretch of the imagination, it is a foolproof blueprint for what can happen when you have a good product and a realistic reserve,” Mr Benson said.

“The encouraging thing for the 2023 seller is that they’ll be dealing with buyers who know what the current rates are, and have been means tested by their lender at, and above, those rates.”

In Guildford, a house on West St sold through Laing and Simmons agents Ray Fayad and Peter Younan for $2.7m – $500,000 above the previous record price for a house in the suburb.

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