If anyone didn't believe the strength of Newcastle's property market at the moment, an auction at Valentine on Saturday is proof of just how bouyant the market is.
An incredible 27 bidders registered for the auction of 20 Regal Way, a four-bedroom property with a guide of $550,000-$600,000 that was in need of a spruce up.
The bidding quickly surpassed the reserve of $600,000, and 25 offers were made before the gavel fell at $750,000.
Two bidders - a family and a young couple - went toe to toe for the home, sometimes in increments of $1,000, but it was eventually the young couple who came up trumps.
"That was the most registered bidders I've seen in 28 years in real estate," George Rafty, of First National Newcastle City said.
"When you have over 10 registered bidders at an auction you think 'wow, that's a lot of people'.
"But we were all a little bit surprised with that price.
"The property was tired - it needed a total overhaul. But it appealed to a lot of people. There were young families, older families, people looking to knock it down. We had a registered bidder from Montgomery Homes.
Auctioneer Gavan Reynolds of Reynolds Auctions said the highest number of bidders he had seen at an auction in the past 12 months before Saturday was 17.
"That was eclipsed by 10, which is not insignificant," he said.
Mr Rafty said at least a third of the bidders were first home buyers and there was a mix of local and out of towners.
Both Mr Rafty and Mr Reynolds agreed that record low interest rates were having an impact on the market, but that the number of Sydney buyers could not be understated.
"About 40 per cent of our current inquiries are Sydney-based," Mr Rafty said.
"People have said it before, but there is that influence from Sydney that is having a great effect on the market.
"Newcastle is so serviceable to Sydney, people are seeing it as the jewel in the crown of the state of NSW."
Mr Reynolds said he had seen strong registration numbers at auctions in the past 12 weeks, and auction bookings for 2021 were already looking very strong.
"I've got bookings until the end of February," he said. "I have no reason to believe that it's not going to continue."
Mr Rafty said he anticipated the market remaining strong for the next six to nine months before it levelled out.
"I think there will be a slow down, but I don't see it retracting," he said. "It's a sellers market, but as we approach June-July I see it becoming more balanced."
Buyers had heart set on Valentine
Robert Crowley, 28, and Abbey Page, 26, went into the auction confident of securing the property, but there were a few nerves as they went back and forth with another family.
"We were going to bail at one stage," Ms Page said. "You don't know how much higher they're willing to go."
But the couple had their heart set on the home and the suburb, which they both grew up in and are keen to get back to.
"We've been trying to get into Valentine for a while," Ms Page said.
"We just renovated a property at Macquarie Hills that we're having an open house for today.
"This is an upgrade for us. It has lots of potential and it's right near family. Being in Valentine was our goal, so we're really excited.
"It will be good to be back," Mr Crowley said.
The couple plan to renovate the home straight away and live in it for a while, but see it as a stepping stone towards another upgrade.