August 11. Cold. Dummies. Games.

The weekend market was in line with the weather: frigid. Buyers had serious cases of cabin fever and vendors were so far north of the market that as a result next to nothing sold.

How desperate are things out there?

Desperate enough for the dummy bidders to come out from under their rocks; but they’re now apparently taking their instructions from vendors, not agents.

We have spent enough time in court to be shy of identifying who or where, but consider some events which took place over the past week:

  • A large family house in a good area which ticked a lot of boxes. 
  • We had a buyer and made an offer prior to the scheduled auction. 
  • It wasn’t accepted. 
  • Fair enough.
  • Last Saturday, the auction begins
  • Two too-smart individuals take the bidding to just over our offer.
  • The property is passed in. 
  • Two single guys are suddenly interested in the same family home? 
  • And they’re not dummies? 
  • This is kids’ stuff.
  • Our phone rings. 
  • Would we be interested in reinstating our previous offer?

Come on. Who is kidding whom?

Yes, dummy bidding is illegal (that’s a law we helped to bring in), but it’s also near-impossible to prove even when all the signs are screaming “Dummy!”

And, sports fans, that’s not the only game in town.

At another auction on Saturday: the selling agent tells us he already has serious interest and points to “his” bidder in the crowd. Trouble is, she’s also our client and is looking elsewhere. She is only here because she lives in this street.

Talk about a red face. Still, that can be warming on a cold day.

The top end wasn’t really tested. While all eyes are on next weekend, in fact there are only two properties of any interest.

So what did (not) happen over the weekend?

Quite surprisingly, 14 Myamyn Street, Armadale – the house everybody in Melbourne has inspected – failed to sell. It passed in at $4,120,000 with a reserve of $4.4 million. That may be explained by its having some issues: the family room is too small, the laundry doesn’t work and the property backs onto the High Street shops (they don’t show you that on the Internet).

In Malvern East, 77 Burke Road, a big renovation project, passed in at $3,025,000 with a reserve of $3.5 million. 

1/72 Mathoura Road, Malvern East passed in at $1,320,000 with a reserve of $1,550,000. At least they had good, honest (vendor) bids.

Winter to extend to Spring?

September usually means the footy finals and an abundance of choice in real estate. Maybe not this year. At the moment, the signs are that the usual teams of vendors look like the’re not coming out to play.


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Feast Becomes Famine In Bayside



A week is a long time in real estate

After lauding the activity and successes of the previous week, Bayside was back to the winter blues: low turnover and below average results.

Brighton fared best: six sales from 11 offerings, however the standout auction of 60 Halifax Street (in front of at least 100 onlookers) could only produce a vendor bid of $3.1 million before being passed in at the same figure.

Although the result didn’t appear in the daily press, the reserve is believed to be around $3.25 million.

Beaumaris struggled: five auctions and only one sale.

Hampton and Sandringham were also pale, with just one exception: $1,040,000 for 9 Olive Street, Hampton.

Mentone and Black Rock went on holiday. Nothing offered, nothing sold.

Even Bentleigh was quiet. Two auctions, one sale.

Controversy raged last week with the REIV caught like a rabbit in a spotlight over the quoting of a property it owned that was auctioned recently.

The Institute ignored quoting guidelines issued to the industry by the regulators, C.A.V., in favour of guidelines crafted by the agents themselves. A bit like the Big Bad Wolf advising Little Red Riding Hood where to hide.

Agents are free to do as they please without fear of recrimination when their own representative body conducts its own business in such a cavalier fashion.

So this advocate’s angst is palpable when attempting to secure 35 Erica Avenue, Glen Iris on Saturday. Initially quoted at $590,000 to $640,000, our pre-auction offer of $675,000 was surprisingly knocked back. After prompting by yours truly, the agency “upped” the quote to $600-680,000 for an instant before removing any price indication altogether. The property sold at auction for $800,000! Six bidders competed, more than the rest of the auctions on the same day for Malvern and Glen Iris combined. Does this tell you something ?

When challenged on the veracity of the quote, the agent’s too-easy defence was that the vendor’s reserve was $640,000. Is there any wonder that the law is seen so often as an ass and that buyers still have little faith in the accuracy of agent’s quotes?

Time to bring back the stocks and pillories?

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