Designer homes make a splash in the auction market

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For a long time, home buyers have been hiring designer architects and spending millions of dollars waiting for the completion of their dream home. But there is an easier way to secure a new property: Buy someone else's dream home after they have done all the hard work.

That was exactly how a young family was able to buy a five-bedroom, three-bathroom house Alex Roth designer pad in Coogee for $3.57 million. The vendors knocked down a 1980s home for which they had paid $1.4 million in 2012 to build the new house.

McGrath agent Adrian Bo thought it was a fair deal, considering that construction costs must have been close to about $2 million. He also said that there was plenty of demand for these types of properties in the eastern suburbs.

"There are a lot of buyers looking at this price level after upgrading from their semis, which had been selling for about $1.5 million but they're now either side of $2 million," Bo said. "And those sort of prices are catapulting these buyers' budgets into the $3-million range."

This is certainly a huge help to the ailing auction market in Sydney, which only recorded a clearance rate of 67.7 per cent last weekend. "It's the third week in a row that the clearance rate has fallen and the weakest result of the year," said Domain Group chief economist Andrew Wilson.

However, not all designer homes are easily being sold. A $7 million property in the Southern Highlands passed without a bid.

"These are big decisions when you have a property of this magnitude," said agent Michael Maloney of Richardson & Wrench Bowral.

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