August 25. Let the real Olympics begin …

Now the other Olympics are out of the way, there will soon be no more excuses left to explain where the market is. It is now the start of the real estate Olympics.

Top-end vendors have either been in Beijing or avoiding going to market when the world’s eyes are focused there. The real action will be on again starting September 6; and those who have tried to jump the gun have largely been disqualified.

The medals are won when the deals are done, so don’t expect to see too many agents’ victory dances following last weekend’s results.

Results were very patchy and there was nothing doing at that very top end; although they finally did sell 52 Hampden Road, Armadale. We believe that went in the high eights, which is a long way under the $15 million asking price of six months ago.

And around the auctions which did take place?

27 McKinley Avenue, Malvern, a double fronted Victorian sold with two bidders for $2,015,000. The agents were hoping for a little more. 

373 Glenferrie Road, Malvern was as lonely as a shag on a rock. Passed in on a vendor bid of $2.3 million with a reserve of $2.85 million. That, in realestatespeak, is cutting the vendor off at his knees.

89 Powlett Street, East Melbourne saw a good result with multiple bidding at $3,075,000.

4 Hopetoun Road, Toorak has an expressions of interest campaign closing today and we are fairly confident you won?t see a sold sign on the board. 

51 Donald Street, Prahran. A rare bright spot for the agents: a good block of land with an adjoining lane, underquoted at $900,000 and sold at $1,390,000.

The rest? A blood-bath.

Properties that should have got bids didn?t, the vendor bid was often the only sound and general disappointment was the tone. Buyers’ advocate nirvana!

Yes, there are bargains out there and investors are taking advantage. 


18/21 Park Lane, South Yarra sold in November last year for $730,000 and was then completely renovated. On Saturday we picked it up for a very happy client. Why so happy? $665,000.

A sign of things to come? Possibly. However, our advice to investors is patience ? patience is rewarding but yet still practised by only a few.

The hidden market?

It’s still happening, but not at the levels of the last few weeks.

The weekend of September 6 will set the tone for Spring. It looks like a make-or-break weekend.


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Bayside: Even bleaker than reported?

The winter woes continue for Bayside’s would-be sellers. From Brighton to Mentone a new low was reached in the local auction clearance rate: a solitary sale from 13 offered on the day … a mere 7.7% success!

If you include the other three auctions scheduled for the weekend but sold prior, the “clearance” rate creeps up to 27%. That’s an improvement, but it’s still way under the claimed metropolitan clearance rate of 63%.

How reliable is that 63%. How reliable are any of these numbers?

You be the judge, when:

·      some agents don’t report passed-in results, making clearance rates appear to be higher than they are

·      the REIV calculates its adjusted clearance rate by taking into account the number of properties reported as sold at auction, sold before auction and sold after auction over the total number of auctions on the day, plus 50% of auctions when no result is reported to them. They justify this with the claim that their research suggests 50% of non-reported auctions are actually sold at auction but not reported to the results service in time for publication – the other 50% of non-reported results are assumed to have been passed in.

Really? Exultant agents don’t have time to phone in results for half their non-reported properties when they have made a sale? They’re not interested in improving their published clearance rates or bragging rights?

You may give the REIV the benefit of the doubt, but it’s no wonder buyers are cynical when it comes to obtaining clear and accurate information on the real state of play.

Meanwhile, back in Bayside …

Bentleigh aside (Bentleigh shines again: 21 auctions, 13 sold), you have to wonder why Bayside vendors even bother to go to auction when three quarters of those auctions appear to fail.

While auctions struggled, 14 private sales were reported for the same locales; a number of which were properties which had been passed in at previous auctions.

Why so many post-auction sales? Consider:

An agent quoted in today’s ‘Age’: “We are seeing good results when vendors allow us to quote correctly to the market.”

Oh, good. That explains it. It’s all the vendors’ fault. The vendors are telling the agents what their properties are worth and the agents are politely going along with them.

Or could it be that some agents are promising vendors prices they know they’ll never reach just to get their listings; but then the vendors are turning around and suggesting that’s where their reserves should be?

And on auction day, surprise, the properties are being passed in.

Why would an agent do such a thing?

Could it be that a post-auction sale can be as profitable to an agent as a sale made at auction; and certainly more profitable than no sale at all?

Is there a lot of this going on in Bayside?

Our prediction: Unless both agents and vendors get in line with current market values, this will be a grim Spring for all but patient buyers.


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