The Auction


IMG_0767Christmas Dec 2015

Daughter with our grandsons

Well bid, Sir.

And with that a small 2bedroom home-unit changed hands to a lucky new owner. Last week has been hectic, too hectic for some seniors. Readers might remember that after that last heat-wave we decided to get air-conditioning installed. This all happened last Thursday.  Three trucks arrived at 7am. The evening before we were warned not to be in our pyjamas. This referred to when we asked for a quote and we were still night-clad at 11am a few weeks ago, when the man arrived to measure and quote for the air-con. We got sprung. It is rare for us to be out of night-gear before mid-day. It is a nice luxury and it is not as if we  have to catch the 6.30am bus (401 Balmain-Sydney)) to get to the train and then to work.

We had also made a move to go to a real estate Auction this last Saturday. Our daughter has for some time now been mulling over moving. It is funny, Sydney is not as homogenous in its people as one thinks. Perhaps with all the influx of migrants many areas have grown starkly different. Our daughter decided to move away from her area that seems to be mainly peopled by working couples. Dual income no kids or  known as DINK couples. The Dinks want to move upwards and want the mystery of ‘life-style’. And they want it now! That’s why they scurry out of the door to work, and in again after work. They are the 6.30 am bus catchers. Sydney  house prices though might mean they will have to catch the bus for many years yet!

‘Not many children or teenagers, not enough coffee lounges and bookshops,’ our daughter said. She also added. ‘There is just not enough loitering of people walking the streets,’ it is just not cosy.’  It is a boring suburb. She is referring to where she has lived for the last few years. I am familiar with the boring. Could she be a chip of the old block?  She likes the areas where the diversity is somewhat greater. I suppose she might also remember the halcyon years, when growing up in the inner city suburb of Balmain.

So, off we went and scoured the real estate pages, including and all those sites that at the flick of a button opens up the world of apartments for sale nation-wide. The advertisements are all false. ‘They are false estates,’ Trump would say. Photos are taken with wide angle lenses that make a mere toilet look so big one would think buying an airport lounge. The interior measurements are juggled with but that’s alright and dealt with by the small lettering down the bottom warning buyers to not rely on anything the brochures and advertisement might be stating. Fake brochures. Fake figures.

Her choice finally singled out on a 2bedr, town-house at Dulwich-Hill. After  pre-contract perusing by solicitor and financial  acrobatics and skirmishes between daughter and us, we worked out some details. The value of her present property, a 3bedr double story unit would most likely be less than the pokey 2 bedroom place she was interested in. We would hang in there for the difference! A premium is now paid for closeness to latte sipping venues and bookshop browsing opportunities. Mothers with prams while nonchalantly sipping a latte from a carton cup while strolling about can add thousands to properties. A premium is also paid for 6am coffee shops opening while catering for lycra clad bikers/joggers and senior dog strollers with fold-out walking sticks.

The mood at the auction was electrifyingly tense. People were eyeing each other, trying to estimate the depth of their wallets. I had pre-booked our interest and my bidding number was nr. 9. The auction started at exactly 9am. It must be the law. No late comers allowed upsetting the procedures.  We had a pre-arranged limit over which we would not bid. Our daughter was tense. We pointed out the smallness of the unit. Will this be enough for you and two growing teen-age sons, we asked?  She just nodded a bit nervously. How much the worth of latte, I could have added but did not.

The crowd had gathered outside, and a movie camera was pointed towards all of us. There would have been a fair sprinkling of neighbours curious about how much their units had shot up over the last year or so. Sydney is now the most expensive city in the world and a dangerous bubble is ready to bust anytime.

The opening bid after a few seconds was $ 850.000.-. It soon was incremented by $5000.-lots, when it all started to stall at around $ 900.000,- Our limit was  firm at $920.000.- I kept calm but knew we would soon be out of the picture. The auctioneer started getting serious and wanted it to get over with. No doubt he had other auctions scheduled for later on. He started to raise his little wooden hammer, his tool of trade, and threatened to call it. The real action started. The serious buyers were now getting into their stride. The final bid was $ 970.000.-

The oddness at auctions is that when the property gets sold, people clapped as if they had seen a performance or an opera. Perhaps it was operatic. I enjoyed it. But, the buy was over the top. Our top anyway. I felt relieved and Helvi was ecstatic. She felt it was far too small and dark

The auctioneer congratulated the successful bidder by saying, ‘ well bid, Sir.’

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

18 Responses to “The Auction”

  1. leggypeggy Says:

    Nerve-wracking, right to the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Curt Mekemson Says:

    If I chose to live in an urban area, I’d be right with your daughter in looking for a walking town with bookstores, coffee houses and diversity, Gerard. $970,000 Australian does seem a bit touchy, however! –Curt

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, the area is nice, Curt.

      Dulwich-Hill used to be a bit slummy with tenements, factories and layabouts. Since the advent of latte sipping and brave bookshops, the area has become ‘in’.
      The prices for houses are now in the millions but small home- units give an entrée in the market for a bit less. Many places are being bought as investments and handy tax dodging.
      The cost of mortgages can be deducted from other incomes. One reason prices have skyrocketed.
      This is mainly in Sydney and Melbourne. You can buy huge places for a tenth of Sydney prices a hundred kilometres away from it.
      It is doomed to collapse like the tulip mania some hundreds of years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Curt Mekemson Says:

        We certainly saw the collapse in the US, Gerard. And we saw lots of folks get stuck. Prices are climbing around here again. We were lucky to buy when they were low! –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        The banks are now tightening the lending rates. I suspect that within a few months we will see a dramatic collapse in house prizes, especially the top end of multi million properties.
        It is wise to have things going on in one’s life that doesn’t rely on real estate. Things like the Burning Man creative endeavours or bush-walking. 😉


  3. bkpyett Says:

    Fascinating post, Gerard. I’m sure there’s something better around the corner for your daughter and grand children. You had me on the edge of my seat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, people are still queuing up at auctions. Many are buying second or third properties. The costs of which they negatively gear, meaning the costs of borrowings they deduct from other income.

      It is a total taxation evasion, but under Australian rules, totally encouraged and legitimate. The Government could have raked in billions of revenue but they don’t have the courage to change the laws.

      This is one reason the prices of properties have sky-rocketed. Every one is jumping in like lemmings, ready to jump over the cliff.
      My daughter will keep on looking but for the moment they have a nice place.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. shoreacres Says:

    I must say, I was intrigued by the process, even as I was astonished at the price. I know that properties in this country are skyrocketing, but I rarely think about it, because I’ve never owned, and won’t ever own. My life is lived on a different scale. It did occur to me that it would be possible to buy a fair number of lattes and books for even a tenth of the property’s cost. Perhaps there are creative ways for your daughter to meet her objectives.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It was a mystery to my father too. He thought it very strange that one had to buy a roof over one’s head. We paid a modest rent.

      In Holland the concept of ‘owning’ a house was not ever thought about. However, in Australia the invention of titles to blocks of land got the ball rolling. It was and still is contagious.

      Billions are now owed to banks in mortgages, and our private debt per inhabitant is one of the world’s highest mainly because of borrowing from banks. Watch out when that turns, which it will!.

      In Europe housing was more seen in the form of a service not unlike water, electricity etc. that people were entitled to.

      There are very few forms of cheap housing available. Council or state owned housing is scarce. So, no matter how creative one is in trying to not fall in the ownership trap, affordable housing remains very elusive for many.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Big M Says:

    I always advise young people to move to the country. Beautiful little towns, great folk, same income for many jobs and all at less than a third of the cost of Sydney. They usually complain that there aren’t the opportunities for kids, yet country kids manage to become doctors, lawyers, research scientists and comedians.

    What would I know?

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      You are right, Big M.
      But advising young people about anything is like rowing up the creek without a paddle.
      Young people are drawn to the big smoke and are leaving small towns. Work for young people is scarce in country Australia.
      We live in a small town which has all the things you might want and more. Predominantly it is peopled by older people. Even so, the local schools are well attended by younger parents. I think a few actually drive up and down to Sydney spending 3hours driving each day.


  6. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Terrifying. I hope your daughter finds somewhere more homely soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, she will. Many of those inner city apartments are bought by investors. Many of them are just sitting there empty. It is estimated about 1 apartment out of 3 are not occupied. A strange situation.
    Capitalism gone mad.


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Here is an interesting article.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. petspeopleandlife Says:

    $950.000 here in the town where I live will buy a huuuge home that is really beautiful and also includes a pool. I can’t believe those prices. Incredible. Your daughter is pretty and favors you a lot.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Ivonne.
      The prices of homes in both Sydney and Melbourne have gone through the roof. A modest 2 bedroom flat or home unit anywhere near the centre of the city is beyond the reach of most people.

      My daughter and our late son and other late daughter were fortunate to have been able to buy their own places when real estate was still within reach.

      Since the last five years, prices have tripled mainly because of negative gearing. This means that costs associated with purchase of properties can be deducted from other income.

      For many this meant a very lucrative taxation dodge. Australia has always been a heaven for tax evasion. It is its national sport. All to the terrible cost of education, health and social service.

      A paradise for the get rich quick merchants.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        What a crying shame. The rich here have tax evasion schemes as well. Ah the rich never had it so good. The sorry lot! 🙂 I hope your daughter is able to find a decent place for much less money.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: