Mosman home auctioned for charity sells $510,000 over reserve

Mosman home auctioned for charity sells $510,000 over reserve

Charities tap into Sydney’s property market as young buyers seek shortcut with golden ticketPaddington deceased estate sells at auction for charityDeakin Charity House Project raises more than $2 million
SuZhou Night Recruitment

A tightly held Mosman home that sold for the first time in more than 50 years has raised millions of dollars for charity.

More than 100 people and one very cute guide dog in training gathered for the auction of 17 Bardwell Road – the former home of the late Josephine Virgona – on Wednesday night.

Auctioneer Jesse Davidson of Auction Works had his work cut out for him, drawing the attention of the crowd away from the real “star of the night”, the adorable three-month-old puppy named Jack.

Bidding started at $2 million, and mostly went up in $10,000 increments, as seven of 28 registered bidders battled it out for the home.

By the time the hammer fell at $2.71 million – $510,000 over reserve – a whopping 70 bids had been made for the home. The proceeds will be split between five local charities, including Guide Dogs NSW/ACT and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

“The puppy was as cute as a button,” said Mr Davidson. “We sent him over to a few of the potential buyers towards the end of the auction.”

The property was snapped up by a young local couple looking to create their dream home. It’s not clear if their bidding was affected by Jack’s encouraging barking or puppy dog eyes.

“Blank canvas homes like this are always very popular, they’re a rare commodity,” Mr Davidson said of the home which was inspected by more than 150 groups prior to auction.

“It was an amazing result,” added Bernard Ryan of LJ Hooker Lower North Shore. “It was all made possible by the generosity of Josephine.”

Mr Ryan noted that in his almost 20 years working in real estate, he had only sold one other property donated to charity – a small apartment.

“To have a property of this significance, a free-standing home in a good position like this, is extremely rare.”

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT chief executive officer Graeme White said the Mosman home was one of a handful of properties across the state left to the charity each year.

He said the charity has seen an increase in assets – including homes – being left to them in people’s wills over their last 10 years, as their profile had risen.

“A surprising number of people who have never even donated before, have left us something in their will,” said Mr White. “Josephine’s only other donation, was a $20 donation made many years ago and then all of a sudden out of the blue we get this.”

With property prices continuing to soar charities are reaping the benefits by auctioning off homes bequeathed to them and even purchasing homes to raffle off.

In Brisbane, the auction of a deceased estate in the inner-city suburb of Paddington, recently raised $835,000 for Medecins Sans Frontieres, while late last year a property constructed on donated land in Lake Macquarie, raised $662,000 for the Children’s Cancer Institute.

Charities are also increasingly competing in hot markets like Sydney and Melbourne by raising funds by buying homes to then raffle off as younger generations look for a shortcut to home-ownership in the face of rising prices.

Both the RSL Art Union and yourtown have seen an increase in ticket sales and the number of young people purchasing tickets – as the dream of home ownership slips out of reach for first home buyers.

Mr White said the money raised from the Mosman auction would likely be put towards the charity’s guide dog training program, which the adorable Jack is taking part in.

A dog will be named after Josephine, to remember her generous act, and the new owners of her long-loved home will also get to name a dog.