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WHEN IT COMES DOWN TO IT, THE BLOCK IS ALL ABOUT REAL ESTATE – AND BUYER APPEAL

Every year on The Block, it can be tempting to get caught up with the dramas of the contestants and the design mistakes they make along the way. The truth is that the show is so much more than that.

Indeed, as long-term judge Neale Whitaker said recently, The Block is essentially about real estate – and what sells on the day.

In 2019 it was the turn of Tess and Luke to demonstrate the benefits of having a marketable property, when their renovated four-bedroom terrace sold for $3.62 million, $630,000 above the $2.99 million reserve shared by all five properties. 

All five properties in the renovated St Kilda development sold for well over the reserve price, which was a great result for all teams, each pocketing more than $330,000. Luke and Tess scored $730,000, which included their $100,000 winners’ prize.

The Cairns duo’s innovative floorplan was popular with buyers partly because of their innovative use of PGH Bricks products, especially in their dramatic living area, which featured a spectacular fireplace surround made with Morado bricks in Nero. A charcoal mortar helped to create a contemporary, yet textural statement in the monochromatic base palette of the space. 

Second off the block come auction time, Tess and Luke were the dark horses of the competition, surprising even host Scott Cam with their win. Some observers felt that their outside area, featuring the CORIUM system in a Stack bond Grey/ brown Metallic brick, gave them an edge, particularly with the buyer, a lawyer who was downsizing.

“We are really proud of ourselves and proud of the others,” said an emotional Tess after their auction.



Prices of all the units were above market expectations, allaying fears that the Melbourne property downturn would affect the final result. The fact that the apartments were so generously sized helped to attract owner/occupiers, most of whom were downsizing from neighbouring suburbs. 

 
Property pundits also felt that a key driver in the attraction of the terraces was their street appeal, which all had rear facades with brick to complement the original brick of the property, an old hotel. 

House 5, renovated by Jesse and Mel, included feature elements of Crevole bricks; while House 4 (E’lise and Matt) included the industrial chic style provided by PGH Bricks’ Tribeca bricks. The Perth couple were also big winners on auction day, coming second by selling their terrace for $3,450,000 (and netting prize money of $460,000).

House 3, renovated by Deb and Andy, had been a crowd favourite and included a garage door bookended by PGH Bricks Metallic Pewter bricks. It sold for $3,420,000, coming third. 
 
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One contestant with the inside knowledge of local buyers was Jesse of House 5, who is also a real estate agent in St Kilda, where the property, known as The Oslo, is located.

Jesse says that bricks are always a good investment when it comes to resale value. “Bricks are coming so much back on trend,” he said. He says that the contrast of the texture of brick combined with the metal cladding added to the industrial look of the terraces to create a contemporary aesthetic.

And he has taken note of the power of brick. Jesse’s next project is a property development in nearby Kew, and yes, it’s also constructed with bricks. Watch this space.

"Bricks are coming so much back on trend"

- Jesse, House 5

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