April 14. Demons in tune with the times.

Top-end auction sales are as scarce as Melbourne Football Club wins!  

However …

There have been several large transactions off-market in the last week. More and more, this is developing into a behind-closed-doors market.

9 Robertson Street, Toorak 21,000 square feet of land on a very sloping block – put up for auction six months ago when it failed to attract a bid – was finally sold for $8.75 million; that’s close to $420/foot and rewards its owners? patience and highlights the scarcity of available properties at the top end.

Even in Hawthorn (Hawthorn!) 37 Illawarra Road – a B-Grade address – sold for $2 million. At $231.00 per foot it’s clear that land is not going backwards.

In Cinderella suburb Albert Park, the Ball began with several sales over $3 million …

35 St Vincent Place a 2-storey Victorian terrace, part of Rochester Terrace, sold with multiple bidding for $3,005,000.

43 Harold Street, Middle Park sold prior to auction, providing further confirmation that vendors are increasingly prepared to take the certainty of a prior sale over the lottery which auctions have become. Especially in light of the avalanche of auctions which will be crashing down the mountain over the next two weeks.

Our view? Nine out of ten times, buyers are better off purchasing prior to auction. There’s no bidding frenzy, no being caught up in a going … going … moment and being persuaded to pay too much.

Armadale? See Melbourne Football Club. Hardly got a kick.

11 Denbigh Road and 12 Denbigh Road between them couldn’t raise a bid. 1 Redcourt Avenue was passed in.

Guess what: in less than AAA areas, buyers are becoming more discerning and vendors will have to adjust.

Another sign of a changing market: up at the top end, “Expressions of Interest” campaigns are becoming the new black.

But … and it’s a big but:

This can be one swing of the see-saw too many. It demands that buyers put their best foot forward with no commitment from the other side. You can over-pay for a property by, effectively, bidding against yourself.

More advice? Get help.

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Bayside? Lights out

Bayside buyers spent last weekend redefining the noble and ancient art of fence-sitting. Most auctions went no further than vendor bids.

Those who accepted offers and sold before auction have a right to feel smug as they watched what happened to those brave enough or foolish enough to go the distance.

Of the ten auctions held in Brighton and Brighton East, the sound of the hammer falling was noticeably absent. Nine of the ten failed to sell.

Hampton and Sandringham fared better on smaller volumes with most being sold under the hammer.

Beaumaris and Black Rock? Forget about Earth Hour, it’s been Earth Week and the lights are well and truly off.

Mentone? Zilch is a good round number. No sales of any kind recorded for the week.

In the middle market, it was Bentleigh stealing the goals: six auctions sold, six passed in and six private sales.

What’s in store in Bayside?

It’s an indication of where the market is going when we are regularly taking phone calls from whispering agents: “I’ve just listed a couple of properties on the quiet for keen sellers. Got any buyers?”

A lot of agents are becoming caught between ambitious vendors and more down-to-earth buyers. We expect to hear more from them as we approach the deluge of auctions over some very interesting weeks ahead.

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