August 27. Madness (cont’d)

The madness at the top end continued on its merry way over the weekend. The cost of land per square foot is the true litmus test of where the market is and in which direction it is going; and there’s still no border in sight.

Need a road map? Take a look at Saturday?s auction at 6 Irving Road, Toorak. It’s the first time we have seen over $550 per sq ft being paid for a block of land that is nothing special – it’s at the wrong end of Irving Road and in our opinion too close to Malvern Road.

Established housing was not going to be left behind. 200 Kooyong Road, Toorak, a two storey home in need of a $800,000 renovation, was on the market at $3,250,000 and four families pushed it to $3,920,000. Again there are more buyers than there are quality properties. The push higher will continue.

However, there was some bucking of the trend (this is real estate, remember): 4 Hawthorn Grove, Hawthorn ? a renovated double fronted Victorian home which should have been keenly sought after, failed to attract a bid. 81 Leura Grove, Hawthorn East, and 109 Wellington Street, Kew, were also greeted with resounding silences.

And still in this skyrocketing market, some vendors’ expectations are so far ahead as to be stratospheric. Evidence? 3 Crestmont Court and 15 Vista Grove, both Toorak, each failed miserably to attract any bidding.

Clearly the market is focusing on quality. There were multiple bidders at all the auctions we attended. What was very noticeable was that the investors have returned to the middle market. Quality inner city units are now being bought by investors out-bidding people looking for places to live.

A word of caution: more non-AAA properties are appearing for the spring selling season. Smoke and mirrors. Smoke and mirrors. There’s a lot of it about.

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