3 cheers for fat bloke

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

Yes, we act for buyers and, yes, we’d rather see markets falling than rising but above all we prefer healthy markets. When properties are being bought and sold it (mostly) adds up to joy for the world of buyers and sellers.

That large gentleman in the red suit appeared to arrive early over the weekend. Many auctioneers had a lovely day and lots of little children and their mummies and their daddies now have new homes to look forward to after Christmas.

Measure the joy at 14 Lynedoch Avenue, St Kilda East. Six hands a-waving, the reserve soon behind them at $2.8 million and on they raced to $3.22 million before two dads-a-bidding called it a day.

And more hands-a-thrusting at 39-41 Adelaide Street, Armadale. Land, precious land. Going for $450/sq ft when six months ago we were paying as little as $300/sq ft in Toorak (we won’t see that again).

And, off the radar, in the secretive world of the very top end, things are humming along very nicely, thank you. We have been joining hands in transactions that would have been at best unlikely even six months ago. Both buyers and sellers have been coming to the parties.

But …

… but among all that sweetness and light there are carbuncles, pot-holes in the road, blots on the landscape.

Of the 20 houses open for inspection in T. over the weekend, only two had price estimates. The rest were POA (yes, Scrabble players, it really is a type of grass. 5 points).

Grass or ineptitude? Can’t quote within 10%? You’re an estate agent and you can’t quote within 10% Then what can you do?

Chaps having fun …

Agent opens house for inspection. Possible buyer recognises agent. Agent does not recognise possible buyer. Agent is reminded that possible buyer has a house listed for sale with him. Air cuttable with knife.

Agent in shop in Hawksburn. Agent brays to friend about a property he is selling. Agent spills confidential beans. Agent is standing next to seller’s best friend.


David Morrell

Bayside: Holding on

The past couple of weeks of Bayside real estate activity suggests the market is in something of a holding pattern.

With the continuing exception of the Bentleighs, auction clearances are hovering around 50% against the Melbourne average of early to mid sixties – and still Bayside’s top end, which is largely confined to Brighton, is a struggle.

And then there’s all that publicity around the positive spin of terminally-positive agents: that the market has turned and there’s not a cloud in the sky.

Privately they tend to be more restrained. They’ll whisper that we are facing a market which will be subdued for some time – and they mean years, not months. Those who have been around long enough are suggesting that what we are entering now is a balanced market – typical of the clearance and growth rate averages of the last 50 years. That the boom decade which stumbled in 2007 was an aberration which simply could not go on.

What’s oft forgot is that the period leading up to that boom was flat – and had been for most of the 90’s – and it now looks like we’re heading for more of the same.

Yet that cloud does have a silver lining. It means a return to some certainty – even sanity. It allows vendors to sell knowing they will not be panicked when they need to buy, it allows buyers to proceed in some confidence that the market has at last come to its senses and has probably bottomed.

And, yes, there will always be exceptions such as when a trophy home comes along, but for most people, most of the time, a lot of the stress is behind us.

Now there’s time to take care. To avoid the wrong property and all the horrors (and expense) that comes with it; and to avoid over-paying just to get a foot in the door.

Meanwhile, back in the ‘burbs …

… it was business as usual for Bentleigh and district. 14 sold at auction from the 18 on offer. Highest on the day was 30 Mitchell Street – a well renovated weatherboard which sold for $1,275,000.

Brighton was steady – about 50% sold. 9 Wellington Street was auctioned mid-week for an undisclosed amount (as expected, a little over $5 million). A drop-kick from the beach, a beautifully presented contemporary house, 1300 sq m of manicured gardens.

On the other side of Hampton Street, 33 Lucas Street in East Brighton also sold for an undisclosed amount (close to $2.1 million).

Hampton and Sandringham sold nine out of 13 – 37 Margarita Street for $1,550,000.

And now the countdown to the end of the real estate year has started. Effectively three weekends of auctions to go – four if you are desperate enough to sell on the 22nd.

There is plenty on offer and still a bagful of becoming-very-tired private sale listings to clear.

And you have seen the future. It looks like now.

Damian Taylor

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