Cashed-up skiers snare 22 of Grollo family Mt Buller snow auction offerings

Alistair Walsh

4 October 2012

Rino Grollo sold most of his 24 redundant Mount Buller holdings at auction today.

More than $4 million of property sold under the hammer and in the minutes after the mass auction.

Some 17 sold at auction, two sold prior and five properties were passed in but three of sold immediately after.

Castran agent John Castran conducted the auction and says he and Rino were happy with the auction, which had 43 registered bidders.

"Rino's happy. There's plenty of new people to ride his ski lifts now," Castran says.

Castran says most of the buyers were leisure seekers rather than investors. He says most of the buyers were buying without borrowing any money.

The stand-out performer was the Stables Chalet, which sold for $980,000 after being marketed with $900,000-plus hopes.

The four-bedroom chalet was designed by architects Bruce Henderson and Provan Burdett. The property won awards at the state and national Master Builder Australia awards.

It is built from local stone and timber, and the new owner will be able to ski in and ski out from the Chamois ski run.

The property includes three bathrooms, open-plan kitchen, dining and living areas, a garage, stone benchtops, stainless steel appliances, laundry/drying rooms, a heated driveway and fireplace.

There were three bidders after the property was announced on the market at $900,000, including one late bidder on the phone.

After bids hit $900,000 they came in $5,000 increments then jumping $10,000 per bid to $970,000 when two bids to $980,000.

Bidder interest wasn’t matched with the Skyline Penthouse in the Chalet Hotel. It had been expected to sell for $900,000 but it passed in on a vendor bid of $800,000.

It did sell after auction though with Castran securing just shy of $1 million.

The recently renovated three-bedroom suite includes access to all the luxuries expected with a hotel.

Before auction, Castran relayed a message from Grollo saying, “Today is the day to buy because today is the day I’m selling”.

True to his word he was willing to come down in price on some properties, including the Kirstie Marshall Homestead, which sold for $137,000 despite his insistence $140,000 was the lowest he could accept.

Interest in the freehold small building block land offerings out of the ski slopes at Sawmill Settlement wasn’t as strong, with Castran working hard for every bid.

He said the Mt Buller lots were selling for almost the same amount that they cost to develop.

He even got to down to $1 bid to get it over the reserve price of $45,000 in two instances for blocks at the Sawmill Settlement location at the foot of the mountain.

Prices for the 12 St Anton apartments ranged from $120,000 to $205,000, having been marketed as likely to secure between $130,000 and $225,000.

Interest in the auction had been strong, with Castran inundated with 600 pre-auction inquiries. There were more than 100 at the auction.
Castran said the results showed the market was price-sensitive with the discretionary acquistions trading at about 20% below last year’s prices.

But he said he hadn’t seen $900-plus prices in?Mt Buller for two years.

Auction attendees at the city auction premises weople were ushered into the 19th-level board room by ski instructors in full garb. It's especially impressive given the weather topped 31 degrees in Melbourne.

Buyers were required to pay a 10% deposit up front with a 60-day settlement period. There was no GST payable, and furniture was included.

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