December 3. Santa Claus has come to town

HO, HO, HO. Santa has arrived early and his great big sack is full of presents for some vendors.

The top end again proved Toorak to be Number One with an off-market sale in Towers Road of a house on around 16,000 square feet for $11.2 million (and it wasn’t a mansion).

Santa is also spreading goodwill around the Cinderella suburbs. Who would have thought that results over $4 million could become commonplace in areas such as Kew and Camberwell?

Over the weekend, 70 The Broadway, Camberwell, sold for $4,060,000 with a $3.5 million reserve. A good home, but you have to wonder about the logic of paying a half million dollar plus premium in Camberwell. This is Camberwell, people. Look around you. It’s not South Yarra. It’s not Toorak.

The same could be said for 6 Stephenson Street, Kew. $4.1 million. Still not Toorak, still not South Yarra. Still over $4 million.

And before we leave Kew, consider 4 Stawell Street sold prior to auction for $3,218,000 against a $2.6 million quote. Say no more.

They were not the only vendors taking advantage of offers prior to auction. 12 Norman Avenue, South Yarra, sold for $2,650,000 two days before its scheduled auction. Given that it has no car parking and there are other issues, that was a clever choice. A little digging later we learnt that there was no other bidder prepared to go beyond $2.4 million.

There were, again, bad hair days for people whose opinions of their homes’ worth were well above the market’s opinion. 18 Lambeth Avenue, Armadale, for example, was quoted at $1.5 million plus, was passed in at $1.7 million and its reserve was $1.8 million. (Underquoting a thing of the past? Oh. Yes. And we all believe in you, Santa.)

48 Kerferd Street, Malvern East, passed in at $1.7 million with a reserve of $2 million. That hurts.

39A Tyrone Street, South Yarra – a modern townhouse in a “C-grade” address – saw an opening bid of $2,450,000 and was then passed in. Pardon? This part of South Yarra has never seen anything with a “2” in front of it. But then…

But then there was a buyer who couldn’t see how the game was being played and it sold after the auction for $2,540,000. This is not a prescription for sleeping soundly. This is a prescription for waking and screaming “What have I done!?”

The mood?

There is still concern at the coalface that if you don’t buy before Christmas, it could prove to be more expensive next year. Added to that, the feeling we are getting from the market is that there will not be a lot to choose from early in the year, so those who are looking to move may not be unpacking before the middle of ’08.

All of which helps explain the panic that we’re seeing at some auctions and the unstoppable enthusiasm for quality property across the top end. People don’t want to be kept waiting forever.

North Shore streaks to shut down

Oblivious to the change in government, the North Shore this week streaked ahead of the Eastern Suburbs and eclipsed the barely-alive west and south.

Bucking the trend over the past few weeks and suggesting that both sides of the transaction are beginning to calm down, very few of the top end sales in Sydney this week were prior to auction.

As we saw it, about $27 million worth of North Shore property traded last week; versus about $18 million in the east.

The five bedroom home at 71 Wentworth Road, Vaucluse was first past the post at $4.8 million followed by the view-driven $4.25 million paid for 53 The Serpentine, Bilgola, way up on the Northern Beaches.

Other stand-out performers up north included two Northbridge five bedders at 31 Weemala Road and 22 Minnamurra Road which sold for $2.917 million and $2.9 million respectively.

They were closely followed by 10 Ryan Avenue, Mosman, at $2.85 million.

The rest of the northern field was concentrated in the high $1 million to mid-$2 million bracket with 36 Highfield Road, Lindfield, failing to get over the line at $2.4 million.

Willoughby overtook its Artarmon neighbour with a sale prior of the three bedroom house at 4 Ward Street, Willoughby, for $1.75 million and of 247 High Street, North Willoughby, a five bedroom home, for a huge $1.975 million.

By contrast, 3 Smith Road, Artarmon, languished with a $1.9 million vendor’s bid.
Unit 21, 93 Elizabeth Bay Road, Elizabeth Bay in the 54 unit waterfront Kincoppal complex sold prior to auction for $3.3 million.

A short stroll to the west, the controversial 10 room (but only seven approved) brothel at 3 Tusculum Street, Potts Point, with two years to run on the lease, failed to attract a bid at auction and is now on the market with an asking price of $3.25 million ? we wish them luck.

Signs of life at last in the city with the three bedroom penthouse at 1402/61 Macquarie Street, Sydney clinching a deal at $4.1 million.

Apart from a few eager pre-Christmas punters on either side of the transaction, things have really started to wind down in Sydney.

It’s summer. Sydney’s tired. It’s been a big year.

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