Alternative realities. They come in bites.

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

Not one market. Many. Where you are buying/selling, and when, all count. Now more than at any other time of the year; and more so this year than most.

Some bites:

Traction. Some.

Surprise! Sales are being made at the top. More often than not, post expression-of-interest and, for the few remaining supreme optimists, post-auction. What are the odds?

[pullquote]… there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll still be living in hope in the new year.”[/pullquote]Around 50% chance of selling if you’re going to auction (but pick your agent carefully, some are kicking goals, others are finding the boundary) — and if you are going to auction you have around a 50% chance of attracting multiple bidders, 50% of not seeing a single bid and a 50/50 chance you’ll still be living in hope in the new year.

One to watch: 19 Haverbrack Avenue, Malvern. A Dec 17 auction suggests the owners have already bought elsewhere and the urge to sell will be a factor. And it will test our belief that taking anything over $5 million to auction in these uncertain times can be an uncertainty too far.

Section 27 says we’re living like SYD

The conventional wisdom is that top end MEL is not like SYD. That the harbour-viewers are geared to their we’ll-borrow-all-we-can eyeballs and when the equity markets sneeze a great chill blows in from the heads — while MEL is conservative, rational, old-school and immune to temptations such as mortgages.

Guess what. We’re not. A significant number of the Section 27 Vendors’ Statements we’ve been hearing about indicate some very aggressive gearing. Would this help explain the late run of properties trying to find buyers so close to Christmas?

Not all. Certainly not two couples who, last week, each found over $5 million for apartments in Walsh Street

 Under $3 million? What does the Council say? 

Those houses under $3 million which tick all the boxes are still attracting the interest of numbers of potential buyers. The rest are struggling. Many, as we’ve noted before, are going for less than council valuation — and councils aren’t famous for getting ahead of the market (nor are ratepayers famous for accepting valuations which are higher than rock-bottom).

So, yes, there are bargains but you still have to ask yourself whether you can live long-term with any compromises you may have to make.

Too early to talk about holidays?

The real market is post-Christmas, but it’s around now that we start receiving enquiries about what’s what on the coasts and country — but then it was only last weekend that we bought several holiday houses on behalf of clients. The good news (for them): there was little competition.

There will be one serious pre-Christmas top end test: 3509 Frankston-Flinders Road. It’s an expressions-of-interest exercise chasing $10 million and should provide a signpost for eight-figure post-Christmas activity.

While out of town, what’s been happening in Mount Macedon over the last couple of weeks? Why is everyone wanting to sell?

Broken records

58 Howitt Road, Caulfield North. Around $6 million topped anything sold in the area. Ever.

1 Towers Road, Toorak. Not a record. Yet. A cutting-edge test of whether vendor expectations and market reality have a great deal in common. A few square feet shy of an acre in one of Toorak’s pricier slices. Just may be the highest price ever paid for a bed in Melbourne. Its sale via expressions-of-interest climaxes (or not) tomorrow.

Going once, going …

Auctions without end, when the auctioneer just doesn’t know it’s all over. When “Last call!” leads only to “I’ll just go inside and see what the vendor thinks.” — after the property has already been announced as being on the market.

It’s grubby. It should go not once or twice, but forever.

David Morrell

Bayside: lost weekend in Brighton

A week can be a long time in real estate.

A week ago there was something that looked like a light at the end of Brighton’s tunnel. It turned out to be a couple of kids playing with matches.

Last weekend Brighton’s very own Super Saturday — 31 auctions — proved to be as wet as the weather. Yes, 16 sold, but five of those were sold-priors so Saturday’s sold-at-auction result was in fact just 35%.

The sold-befores tell their own stories: One buyer, one reasonable offer, one agent prepared to advise that the first offer is often the best and no more so than in this market. You’ve seen the alternative: 35% — and those which did sell under the hammer were well under the median prices usually seen in these parts.

So. What went before?

What didn’t go at all?

  • 20 Cole Street passed in on a $4,000,000 vendor bid, reserve a secret.
  • 1 Martin Street passed in at $3,500,000, a later offer of $4 million, and vendors with 5’s in their eyes. Could be a very long wait.
  • 2 Collins Street passed in at $2,975,000. Later offer $3,050,000. Reserve an approachable $3.3 million. Will sell.
  • 24 Victoria Street passed in at $2,625,000. reserve $2.8 million. As land only, that’s a generous $2900/sq m ($273/sq ft). Are we missing something?
  • 13 Holmhurst Court passed in at $2,000,000 with another $200,000 offered later. Reserve is $2,400,000.
  • 375 St Kilda Street passed in on a $1,700,000 vendor bid. Reserve is $1,850,000

And a lot more of the same. But we don’t want to be seen as depressing the market.

And then came …

Hampton and Sandringham. Silence. Not golden.

More silence? 7 Linacre Road, Hampton. An expressions of interest campaign which closed last Monday. Nothing heard. Too much to ask for some transparency in the result?

Beaumaris and Black Rock. Hardly a peep.

The Bentleighs. Return from oblivion. 18 offered, 12 sold — but nothing over $1 million. “The pointy end has been well and truly blunted.”

Three weeks. All that’s left before the shop shut signs appear. A late rally looks a lot less than likely and with the number of recently-listed properties likely to remain on agents’ books into the new year, buyers could do well to wait for the January sales.

Damian Taylor

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