Dec 8: A tale of three markets

The top end, AAA and and the rest.

There is, we hear (we don’t often visit), life in the sub-800k market while at the top end, above $1 million, we’re hearing nothing but auctioneers gasping for air.


Except AAA. The rare properties or positions which have it’s-now-or-never quality still have buyers competing hard. So far, they have been insulated from the general doom + gloom.

For example:

210 Walsh Street, South Yarra. It has a heap of issues including a Heritage overlay and is in need of a money pit for renovations, but it’s a sensational position and sold for a bullish $4,530,000. In the old money, that’s $621 a foot, plus renovation costs.

6 Cleeve Court, Toorak. Small block, irregular shape, but a pleasing cul-de-sac off Irving Road. By our reckoning it should have sold for around $2.1 million but a couple of people really had to have it and it went for $2,502,000 ? $463.00 per foot. This time last year, Cleeve Court was selling at over $500/foot. Our view? The underbidders may have lost the battle but they should be glad they did.

6 Haverbrack Avenue, Malvern ? arguably Malvern?s best street and probably the last big block of land available ? had three bidders (we weren?t surprised) take it to $5.3 million: $270/foot. 12 months ago, it would have been priced at $300-320/foot; which adds up to another $1.2 million. No wonder there were bidders.

And here endeth the vendors’ good news.

For the rest of the top end, it was tough and will get tougher. The looming Christmas/New Year break means that those properties which aren’t wrapped up by this week are likely to still be under the tree well into next year; this while we’re hearing about increasing numbers of margin calls, so timing may be out of some vendors’ hands.

One near-death experience: 110 Riversdale Road, Hawthorn was scheduled for a mortgagee auction on Saturday morning but was rescued by a fast injection of funds at 4.00pm on Friday.

Armadale and Albert Park properties that previously would have attracted bids like flies to honey didn?t get a murmer.

In Malvern, in the middle of the supposedly recession-proof doctors belt, 15 Glendearg Grove was passed in. There is a bid of $2.6 million. Given what?s going on, they should grab it.

What is available in abundance is silence. Agents who don’t like the results they’re seeing are simply not reporting anything. Properties that went to auction and didn’t sell? Didn’t happen. Expressions of interest campaigns that ran their course with no result? Ditto.

Then why are things rosier below $800,000? The government stimulus packages have greater effect there, but there’s also the realisation that, if not buying pre-Christmas, moving day probably can’t be until the middle of next year. For many, that adds up to a deal of rent.

But, still, it could be worse.


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Bayside bounce?

After weeks of results ranging all the way from from awful to abysmal, the Bayside market has staged something of a recovery over the past week. Auction clearance rates in Brighton, Hampton/Sandringham and Bentleigh were well up on previous numbers. Only Beaumaris/Black Rock let the side down.

Brighton cleared 11 properties from 22 offered: 1 Lynch Street sold for $1.36 million, 1 St James Mews for $1.38 million.

8/18 North Road (sorry, no link available) sold prior, for $1.525 million while there was a lot of not very much at 295 St Kilda Street: a vendor bid of $1.65 million and then passed in with a reserve of $1.7 million. On 985 sq m with a good period home on the edge of the Golden Mile, this seems to offer exceptional main road value.

An extensively renovated 1960?s era home was offered in the Orphanage Estate at 62 Lynch Crescent. The highest bid was the vendor’s: $1.9 million. The reserve is $2.2 million. On only 596 sq m, $2.2 million seems a tad ambitious.

32 Dawson Avenue, in the Golden Mile and with limited water views, was passed in on Saturday on a vendor bid of $5 million. It has since been reported as sold for, we believe, around $5.2 million. Brave move, putting a property in this price range to auction, but bravery rewarded.

While Brighton had a much better weekend, Brighton East failed to clear a single property priced at over one million dollars; the five offered were all passed in on vendor bids.

In Hampton, 17 Grenville Street sold during the week for $1.705 million after being passed in the week before at $1.65 million. All was near-silent at a fully renovated period house at 45 Thomas Street: only a vendor bid of $1.52 million to be heard and a vendor hoping to hear $1.6 million.

Bentleigh and district again performed relatively well: 9 sales from 16 offered.

The price point in this area is generally well under the million dollar mark, hence the reasonable sales and clearance rates over the past few months. To illustrate the point, the two $1 million+ properties offered were both passed in. 19 Rose Street has a reserve of $2.2 million, a mere $450,000 above the pass in figure of $1.75 million. Hope springs eternal?

With only one week of auctions before the end of the silly season, there’s a great deal of opportunity awaiting buyers who are looking for value in the volume of unsold property. The savvy will stay in the market (and, yes, we are seeing more of them).


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