Suddenly it seemed like same time last year.

They grew like mushrooms overnight. Buyers were everywhere.

But … why?

We don’t know for sure, but everywhere we went (and, while not top end, all were good properties) there were between four and eight serious bidders.

Our suspicion is that there was a small horde of people who had not been able to find what they were looking for prior to Easter and had resolved to buy something, somehow, as soon as they could after Easter.

There’s a truism that, once a bidder, twice not shy. Now those people are active, they’re likely to stay active until they have bought.

The top end? Quietly busy. All the real action was off-market or private; with even some of the long-hanging fruit (dare we suggest, including a lemon or three?) at last finding buyers.

14 Myamyn Street, Armadale had been on the market for six months and finally sold for around $3.6 million. Quick history: last year, prior to auction, the vendors were offered $4.1 million and knocked it back. The auction itself went to $4.12 million before the house was passed in. So who’s chortling now?

18 Verdant Avenue, Toorak apparently sold, but not for the $8.5 million they were holding out for. Think nearer to $7 million.

The week’s surprise ending? 172 Kooyong Road, Toorak. Brand new, owner-built. Arithmetic lesson: the land cost about $2.5 million, the building cost is unlikely to have been more than $3.5 million. Sold for just under $8 million. Nice sums if you can get them.

Conclusion? 172 Kooyong is demonstrates again our theory that people are ready to spend almost anything to acquire trophy homes when everything is done and all the buyer has to do is call the removalists.

And what can lack of choice get you?

Mortgagee auction, 29 Coppin Street, Malvern East. A weatherboard in need of serious work on 10,000 square feet. It sold for a whopping $1.77 million against a quote of $1.4 million with seven (!) bidders.

A wider view suggests that there’s still only a handful of properties on offer at the top end and that may encourage some vendors to hit the market prior to June 30. Buyers, clearly, are back, GFC or not.

The stressed sale tsunami we were all expecting (and frankly hoping to take advantage of) seems to only be a ripple at present, but we still have an eye on the weather forecast.

The truly stressed are the agents. It’s becoming feral out there. Lack of turnover and lack of fees is causing some to take the Paris option or a three month sabbatical. Our suspicion is that there will be a lot of mergers and some rationalisation before the end of the financial year when agents are faced with numbers and fees that don?t add up.

Arithmetic. Cruel arithmetic.


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