Downsizers trump families and Sydneysider at Coburg auction


When Marg Liddell complained that the houses she was inspecting were too small, her daughter quipped "what about the term 'downsizing' don't you understand?"

After 36 years in Vermont South, Max and Marg Liddell sold their family home in August and started looking for a smaller pad closer to their children in Melbourne's inner north.

On Saturday, the couple toppled three other bidders to secure the keys to a stunning Edwardian residence in Coburg.

It was one of 944 properties scheduled to go to auction in Melbourne on Saturday. By evening Domain Group had recorded a clearance rate of 74 per cent from 667 reported results.

For many, moving into a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house might not be considered downsizing. But Mrs Liddell, an academic in the criminal justice field, said it was about finding a home that suited their lifestyle.

"We needed two studies," she said. Max, a retired academic, is writing a book and Marg still works full-time.

"We also entertain and we love to cook, so we needed a sizeable kitchen.

"We like to have a bit of individual space, we don't like being on top of each other."

Bidding for the property began at $1,310,000 in front of a crowd of about 40 people.

Three other parties - two families and one man bidding on behalf of his mother - bid in $10,000 jumps until the property was declared on the market by auctioneer Jason Sharpe at $1.49 million.

The Liddells joined the bidding around the $1.5 million mark. Up until that point, they weren't sure they were going to bid at all, Mr Liddell said.

"It looked like it was going to push way above our price range."

The couple snagged the property with a winning bid of $1,565,000.

"We had a figure in mind and it went a little bit over what we thought but not by a lot," Mrs Liddell said.

The underbidder, Peter Robson, was bidding on behalf of his mother, who recently retired and was looking to buy in Melbourne after selling up in Sydney.

Mr Robson and his wife, Vivienne, and sister, Emma, said they would continue looking in the area and had their eye on another property close by.

Listing agent Sam Abboud from Woodards said Coburg had proven exceptionally popular with a variety of buyers.

He said downsizers primarily looked for low-maintenance, renovated, single-storey residences.

Meanwhile in Carlton, the former lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes sold for more than $200,000 over its reserve price when it went under the hammer on Saturday afternoon.

Built in 1918, it served "the Buffs" (members of the fraternal club) for decades before it was converted into two homes around the turn of the millennium.

Three parties fought it out for the four-bedroom, three-bathroom Neill Street residence with bidding starting at $1.7 million before quickly climbing to $1.82 million, where it was declared on the market.

A downsizer from Strathmore placed the winning bid of $2,061,000.

Listing agent Rick Daniel from Nelson Alexander said the property had been well received by the market.

"Unique properties draw a hell of a lot of interest," he said. "We had almost 100 groups of buyers through the door."

This story Downsizers trump families and Sydneysider at Coburg auction first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.