PHOTOS

Steve Smith's family home in Alfords Point goes to auction as property market returns to life

The Alfords Point home in which Test cricket star Steve Smith grew up is among properties on offer as the real estate market in Sutherland Shire returns to life.

Eighteen shire properties are to be auctioned tomorrow (Saturday May 30) and there are many more in the pipeline for following weeks following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

The Smith family's home in Mahogany Close is due to be auctioned on Saturday June 13, with expectations of a price in excess of $1.5 million.

Some of Smith's trophies from his junior cricket days are still on show in his old bedroom.

Peter and Gillian Smith built the house in 1995 after the family moved from Illawong, where Steve was born in 1989.

The couple are downsizing and moving to the South Coast.

"We have had a lot of good times here and made many good friends, whom we met mainly through the kids as they were growing up," Peter said.

"It's time to make a move - we have a four bedroom house plus a granny flat here and there are only the two of us."

Their daughter Kristie, who is three years older than Steve, lives in London.

The couple will take many happy memories with them, including the backyard cricket game which Peter developed to help Steve improve his batting against spin bowling.

They played on a paved area with a cut down bat and softer ball, and one of the rules was if the ball landed in Gillian's flower bed you were out.

Steve started cricket when he was about four and spent many hours in the nets, which Peter helped build at Casuarina Road Oval, a four-minute walk from home.

The oval was also the scene of the future Test captain's first century when he was playing for Illawong in the under 10s.

Steve started at Alfords Point Public School when it consisted of demountable buildings and went on to Menai High School. He did not complete the HSC because of cricketing commitments.

It was obviously an emotional day for Gillian when Steve left home and went to live in Coogee to be closer to the SCG.

"It was nine years ago on May 13," she was quick to note.

The couple put their home on the market two weeks before coronavirus restrictions stopped public auctions and open house inspections.

With the restrictions lifted and the market springing back to life, they are heartened by the interest from prospective buyers.

"Originally we didn't say anything [about the sporting link], but a couple of people who came through worked it out, so we decided we may as well be open about it," Peter said.

Selling agent Adam Wylie, of One Agency Menai/Sutherland, said they were seeing "good numbers through properties, and we are still making some good sales".

Mr Wylie said prices in the Menai had dropped about five per cent.

"Just where the market will go is an unknown because we have never been through something like this and I have been doing it for 28-29 years.

"I don't think we will get a good indication until JobSeeker and JobKeeper are over.

"We do know a lot of people are getting their homes ready to sell because they had had time on their hands at home."

Highland Property Group chief executive David Highland said they had seen a 50 per cent increase in inspection numbers in the last two weeks since the lifting of restrictions, as well as record sales.

"A sub-penthouse in the Ozone development sold for a record $10.25 million and three other properties for between $4.5 million to $7.3 million in the last three weeks," he said.

"We think the general market is on the move.

"There were 88 people at the first inspection of a three-bedroom house we are auctioning tomorrow (Saturday May 30) at 134 Cawarra Road, Caringbah.

"It's priced around the million dollar mark and there are 11 registered bidders.

"Last Saturday, we had 100 open house inspections, which resulted in 500 buyer inspections.

"I think any concern about a reduction in values is unsubstantiated.

"The choice of agent in this environment is critical and will ultimately determine the result and time frame."

Adam Crawley, of Ray White Sutherland Shire, said prices had fallen about 10 per cent "but I don't think it will go down any more".

"Since we have had been able to have open houses again, we have been getting good numbers for inspections and selling a few.

"[The market] is down a tiny bit, but it's that time of the year, as well."

Last week's auction clearance rate for all of Sydney was 67 per cent.

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