Victoria's Gippsland Lakes mega-auction sees 100% clearance

Victoria's Gippsland Lakes mega-auction sees 100% clearance
Victoria's Gippsland Lakes mega-auction sees 100% clearance

All 86 properties that were under the hammer sold at a single mega-auction at Victoria's Gippsland Lakes this weekend through John H Castran.

The properties were sold to recover funds for the collapsed Gippsland Secure Investments, which was a principal lender to Riviera Properties, the former land owners.

Around 1,400 people registered for the auction, hosted by the Metung Hotel. The most expensive sale was for a 18 hectare, 10 marina berth lot, which sold to a buying syndicate for $2.45 million. A mix of commercial lots, marina berths, cove allotments and single dwelling residential plots were sold at the auction. Included amongst them was 76 Beach Road (pictured below).

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According to Metung LJ Hooker branch manager Peter Cook, the sale attracted a great deal of attention, with his team fielding enquires five weeks before the event.

"I think there were a lot of people looking for bargains. The diversity of the blocks and the prices that were advertised meant that the auction was open to everyone, from developers to small buyers," he said. There was no reserve set for any of the Metung properties auctioned on Saturday, with a reported five per cent discount on most of the properties sold with a 30 to 60 day settlement. 

Of reports that some Gippsland Lakes residents were worried that the super sale would devalue property in the area, Cook said that the majority of residents saw the benefit of the interest in the former Riviera properties.

"There are always people like that in smaller towns - there are about 1,000 people in Metung. Generally when something like this happens, you’re going to have people who are going to boo-hoo it, and there are going to be people who are going to be for it," he said of the divided sentiment.

Ian Lockwood, the branch manager of Elders Metung, agreed that the auction was good for Metung.

"It's a mixed bag, but I would say it's a great result for Metung. Some properties have sold for a higher prices than what were previously advertised by the previous agent. Other house lots, which were around 700 square metres, sold for about fair average price," he said. "I thought the commercial property, of which there was one in Metung, sold quite cheaply."

Lockwood, who was a referring agent for the auction, said roughly half of the buyers he referred were from Melbourne and half were locals. 

"The biggest value from the auction is that we've had a stream of people through our door that have seen the advertising, never heard of Metung, arrived two or three days before the auction and bought property," he said.

"The one question I keep getting is, 'Why haven't I heard of Metung before?'"

Cook notes that before the auction, marketing for the properties had been sluggish.

"Those lots were sitting empty for a long time," he said. "Initially there were only two agents handling the properties, Riviera and King and Heath, and they should have opened it to other agents to handle some of the properties."

It seems that some shareholders in the collapsed Gippsland Secure Investments agreed, with rumours that some shareholders were discussing the possibility of a class action suit in the auction tent on Saturday. Riviera Properties was the company's largest debtor before it was liquidated. Following the auction, shareholders are reportedly set to receive 80c in the dollar.

While most of the properties sold were located in Metung, about a quarter of the properties auctioned on Saturday were located in Paynesville and Bairnsdale

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