Shock Block twist no one saw coming
IT WOULDN'T BE a finale without drama - and this year's Block auction provided all that and more when the Gatwick Hotel went under the hammer.
In an unbelievable night of auctions, the series' most controversial couple, Hayden Vale and Sara Tumino, took out the top prize when their apartment sold well above their reserve of $2.5 million - making them The Block 2018 winners.
Better known as the "underdogs", the Sydney couple even managed to have their apartment sell for more than the two penthouses - which to everyone's amazement, fell short of the $3 million mark.
Despite Melbourne's clearance rate hitting a six-year low last weekend - with plenty of warning signs not to sell five apartments in one day - all teams still managed to profit well above their reserve, pocketing enough to set themselves up financially.
Project manager Hayden and flight attendant Sara, who came last in three consecutive weeks and copped plenty of criticism from the judges, had their apartment sell for $3,020,000, a whopping $545,000 over their reserve, which earned them an additional $100,000.
They fell $2,000 short of beating last year's winner's Josh Barker and Elyse Knowles, who profited $547,000 for their Block renovation.
"After what had happened to us throughout the entire series, no one had any faith in us, we were the underdogs and outcasts throughout the entire series," Sara told news.com.au after the auction.
"It was very hands on for Hayden as he is a builder and also a project manager, he was helping out but he also had a team behind him and we wouldn't have been able to do it without them."
The pair, who also revealed they are expecting a baby boy in April next year, had the choice of the two penthouses after winning the first challenge of the series, but opted to renovate Apartment 3 in the old Gatwick. Their decision paid off, with the three couples who renovated the old Gatwick apartments coming out on top of the penthouse teams.
They plan to put the money towards the family home they are currently building in Sydney.
In second place - and first to go under the hammer - was South Australian couple Kerrie and Spence. Their reserve was $2.45 million, and they managed to profit $415,000 after their apartment sold for $2,850,000.
"We just didn't know what to expect," Kerrie said. "We felt a certain type of pressure being first, and we thought we needed to do well to set a benchmark for the others."
The duo said they will use part of their win to go on a river cruise in France to celebrate Kerrie's 50th birthday next March.
Courtney and Hans, a high-flying engaged couple from Perth, claimed a close third place when their apartment - the biggest in the Gatwick - went under the hammer for $2,770,000. They walked away with a profit of $410,000, after being given a reserve of $2.4 million.
Despite their fears that the current real estate climate in Melbourne would lose them money at auction, they too managed to beat their reserve.
In a shocking twist, their apartment sold to two sisters who had previously owned the entire building.
Yvette Kelly and Rose Banks now own a smaller slice of the place they've called home for nearly 50 years.
"Once I saw the apartment completed I was like 'it's a beautiful apartment, it's beautifully styled' and I was worried it was too feminine' but knowing Yvette and Rose bought it was so good, it was like I designed it for them," a very excited Courtney told news.com.au during celebrations.
The sisters sold the entire Gatwick to Channel 9 last year for $10 million, saying they particularly loved Courtney and Hans' apartment because it overlooked Fitzroy Street.
"I love the building. I know everyone was saying how horrible it was but I honestly wish I had enough money to buy the whole apartment block," Ms Kelly said. "For us it has great sentimental value. All our kids were brought up here and now our grandkids can experience it."
Best friends from Melbourne, Bianca and Carla came in fourth position, walking away with $301,000 ($150,500 each) when their penthouse sold for $2,991,000 (reserve, $2.70 million), while fan favourites Norm and Jess from Queensland earned themselves $209,000 over their reserve of $2.65 million) when their penthouse sold for $2,859,000 in the nailbiting auction.
"I probably thought the penthouse would go higher than the old Gatwick but you have look at the square metre and the fact we are smaller than the old Gatwick, but it did surprise me it went for less than the others," Carla said.
Bianca added that it was a sign about the market: "It's not favourable for properties like this at the moment."
"But you know what, we sold it and the clearance rates tell you, you shouldn't sell five apartments in one day so I am just so glad it all came through," Bianca said.
In true Norm and Jess style, the couple were overly satisfied in "whatever we were going to get".
"Look it's above and beyond what we expected, we knew the market was down in Melbourne and our real estate agent prepared us for it but to come out with $209,000 is just unbelievable," Norm said, with Jess adding: "And it's tax free, how good is that?"
The couple plan to pay off their debts with the money and spend more time with their kids.
Tonight's results has taken the total prizemoney across The Block's 14 seasons to a whopping $20,775,501.
INSIDE HAYDEN AND SARA'S WINNING APARTMENT
PREVIOUS BLOCK WINNERS
2003 - BONDI - Adam & Fiona, $256,000
2004 - MANLY - Jamie & Andrew, $178,000
2010 - VAUCLUSE - John & Neisha, $305,000
2011 - RICHMOND - Polly & Waz, $115,000
2012 - SOUTH MELBOURNE - Brad & Lara, $606,000
2013 - ALL STARS (BONDI) - Phil & Amity, $395,000
2013 - SKY HIGH (SOUTH MELBOURNE) - Alisa & Lysandra, $395,000
2014 - FANS v FAVES (ALBERT PARK) - Steve & Chantelle, $736,000
2014 - GLASSHOUSE (PRAHRAN) - Shannon & Simon, $435,000
2015 - TRIPLE THREAT (SOUTH YARRA) - Darren & Deanne, $935,000
2015 - THE BLOCKTAGON (SOUTH YARRA) - Dean & Shay, $755,000
2016 - THE BLOCK 2016 (PORT MELBOURNE) - Will & Karlie, $815,000
2017 - THE BLOCK 2017 (ELSTERNWICK) - Josh & Elyse, $547,000