How home-sellers can achieve great results in a challenging market
While every season of The Block throws unique challenges at its competitors, 2020 itself presented their greatest challenge of them all. Lockdown and social distancing restrictions not only disrupted the run of the show as contestants were sent home for six weeks mid-construction, but also presented several hurdles for the final auction day.
With open for inspections moved to a virtual format and auction crowds capped at 10 people, the sales process looked a little different. Despite these challenges, the monster auction day resulted in stellar sales across the board which netted $3,332,002 in prize money for contestants – the most profitable season with largest winnings per competitor ever.
To conclude a truly exceptional season of The Block, we spoke to David Wood, Belle Property Albert Park Principal and agent for SA contestants Daniel and Jade, about the results and the biggest lessons he learnt:
A consistent vision ties the home together:
The central challenge for this season of The Block – outside of a looming pandemic – was that each competitor had to capture the style of a certain era in their design. Each home was to reflect the architectural styles of a decade from the 1910s – 1950’s, introducing period features throughout their design and furnishings.
David says “The challenge to the teams was balancing the style of their given epoch with the comfort and liveability of contemporary homes. Every design decision needed to be made with the end buyer in mind, so for Daniel and Jade, they needed to capture the look and feel of an Art Deco home without compromising on the premium lifestyle of a desirable Brighton home.”
“Ultimately, I feel they did an excellent job in creating a unified vision for the house that elegantly flowed throughout the property with subtle nods to the Art Deco style. It elevated the look and feel of the house, and projected a very consistent, thoughtful atmosphere to buyers.”
One of the standout elements of the property was Daniel and Jade’s kitchen, in particular their custom-made Christian Cole island bench. The sculptural detail and soft curvature were a charming nod to the 1930’s, as was the hidden whiskey cabinet. It was evocative of the time, yet thoroughly practical as the heart of a family home.
Lead with emotion:
While the trophy appeal of owning a ‘famous’ home may drive audience interest, at the end of the day, purchasing any property is a significant investment for an individual so the same drivers of buyer consideration need to be reflected in a Block home as any other.
“A home is a very emotional thing – you need to capture the hearts and minds of a prospective purchaser well before you can start talking to them about the kitchen amenities,” says David.
“Whether on TV or not, a story around your property can attract a buyer’s interest.”
“Daniel and Jade put family at the core of their build. They filtered every decision they made about that house through this buyer lens, and it resonated. From the inclusion of an additional bedroom to the visibility of the pool in the kitchen to the emphasis on family throughout the listing video, Daniel and Jade created a home clearly targeted towards families. Just like the integration of the Art Deco style, reflecting this unified vision across the house strengthened its value.”
This paid off on auction day with their property being snapped up by noted The Block property enthusiast Danny Willis for a cool $3.8 million, who intends to gift it to The My Room Children’s Cancer Charity for at least a year for families visiting Melbourne for hospital treatment.
The Melbourne market is showing strong signs of recovery:
Auctions and in-person property inspections were reintroduced to the Melbourne market mere weeks before The Block homes were due to be auctioned, limiting the full-scope of a traditional sales campaign. Add to this the restricted pool of buyers with limitations on domestic and international travel, and a crisis of consumer confidence in the wake of a pandemic, and one could be forgiven for anticipating a soft auction day.
Excitingly, however, this season of The Block recorded its highest ever auction prices of nearly $3.4 million in prize money alone. While the premium location of Brighton and luxury build of the homes represented a high-value property price, the results still exceeded expectations.
“The Block results are outstanding, but what I think is more exciting is what this suggests about the rapid recovery of the Melbourne property market. We are seeing a strong resurgence, particularly in the premium market, driven by pent-up interest from local buyers, a limited supply of houses of this calibre on the market, a boost of consumer confidence, and record low interest rates,” says David.
While house price values have not increased in Melbourne over the last 6 months, the rate of decline has been quickly easing in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions.
He concludes “we’re now firmly in the recovery stage, with property listings and clearance rates on the rise, and an acceleration of new home loans being taken out. It’s been a rocky season for The Block and the property market, but the finale has left me with great confidence for where we are heading.”