Dominos, anyone?

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

“I’d sell, but no-one is buying…”

“I’d buy, but no-one is selling…”

“Did you see what the place down the street went for?”

“Really? It did?”

And so the dominos begin to fall.

[pullquote]… we’ve seen more action than we have seen all year.” [/pullquote]Over the past several weeks we’ve seen more action than we have seen all year. Not enough to say the market is back on the way up but, at least at the top end, sellers are reappearing and there are buyers waiting to meet them.

Meet them at the right price, that is. The usual pre-Christmas desperation among buyers is less in evidence. Most have done their homework, know how much to pay and won’t be panicked. While we’re a little surprised at how many offers have been taken up – we had anticipated more slack, more people sitting and waiting – in most cases there is still only one buyer in negotiation and so the conversation is all about price.

It’s the vendors who are anxious. The post-Christmas hiatus looms. Sell now or chances are the summer will be over before you’ll see your name on a cheque.

Yet still the games are played. The lemons listed as diamonds (and priced accordingly) in the hope that the fool and the money will soon be parted.

There are also agents – at the top end one in particular – who are all over the shop; including promising some clients the earth to gain listings and then delivering little more than apologies.

The top end is a very small world and we’ve seen all this before. Word gets around. Over-promising agents may not get it, but it’s their own futures they’re putting on the line.

Other career-limiting tactics?

  • The auctioneer who belittled an old and valued (and extremely valuable) client over the weekend. Expect that agency to be overlooked in future transactions.
  • Auctioneers who draw out auctions for no more than the joy of hearing their own voices. All over in five or ten minutes is no longer enough. Going once twice and thrice is only a prelude to all finished all done and it’s still not over. They promise an end and then leave the highest bidder gasping while they start all over again. Sold is sold, gents. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing those highest bidders walking when you’re treating them like idiots.

Dominos that fell?

Two sold by auction at over five million. We haven’t seen that for a while. But both were hen’s-teeth 2-storey Victorians; and big period houses are rarely kept waiting.

David Morrell

Bayside: Not a lot of room at the top

With the exception of Beaumaris and Black Rock, Bayside was generally steady over the past week – reasonable auction activity and a handful of private sales.

That said, most of the action is in the lower and mid-ranges. Activity at the top end is relatively sparse. With more on offer, the next few weeks will be severely testing at the top end but if the weekend before last is a guide, there will be interest if prices are sensible.

Big if.

Judging by two significant properties we have seen over the past week, there are still vendors who are living in outdated dreams. $1 to $2 million out of date by our reckoning.

Blame the vendors? Yes. Blame ambitious agents who have been buying listings? Them too.

It’s hard to see any sense in testing the market in the current climate. If you want to sell, price correctly and negotiate sensibly with buyers – they’ve done their research, they know how much the market will bear (even, dare we say it, they know that with greater authority than some agents).

The weekend?

The Brightons did reasonably well: 13 auctions, of which nine sold; mostly in The East.

  • 54 Shasta Avenue sold for $1,655,000. Big block – 1178 sq m – working out at a somewhat modest $1,400/sq m or $130/ft.
  • 11 Sunlight Crescent passed in to a vendor bid of $2.5 million followed by an offer of $2.62 million. Reserve? Undisclosed.
  • 18 Connor Street passed in to a vendor bid of $1.95 million. There was a later offer of $2.025 million. Reserve is $2.175 million.

In Brighton itself, 23 Norwood Avenue failed to excite and was passed in on the auctioneer’s $1.95 million bid. The reserve is $2.2 million.

Hampton and Sandringham were busier: 12 auctions between them with just over half selling.

With a number of these results being reported as undisclosed, it is a reasonable assumption that someone was not excited about the price received.

The Bentleighs bounced back with a full book of 20 odd auctions being scheduled and a total of 13 clearances. Again the upper end struggled with both million dollar plus offerings falling short.

  • 16 Coates Street was passed in on a $1.25 million vendor bid, reserve is undisclosed
  • 188 Centre Road passed in on a $1.1 million vendor bid with a later offer undercutting that (and why not?) at $1.075 million. The reserve is $1.175 million.

As mentioned at the outset, Beaumaris and Black Rock underperformed. Just two sold in eight auctions. Not sure what is in the water down there, but for now it can’t be the favourite tipple of the local estate agents.

Damian Taylor

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