Nice year for a good sleep.

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

Last week we spoke of the storm before the calm. This week – on cue – the calm descended.

The number of homes being sold at the top end – both at auction and privately – hardly makes it worth getting out of bed. (Off-market? Another story.)

And now the school holidays have descended with all the stimulation of a sleeping potion, removing practically all the top players not otherwise preoccupied with a certain ball game.

Saturday? Little to interest the top end. Here, only as evidence of effort:

  • 32 Murchison Street, Carlton Built in 1865 and since appreciated to a quote of “around $3 million”. It was passed in (yawn) at $2,850,000 and the reserve is $3,285,000.
  • 60A Heyington Place, Toorak passed (sleepily) in at $2.71 million
  • 6 Lewisham Road, Prahran passed (soporifically) in on a vendor bid at $1.1 million
  • 58 Leura Grove, Hawthorn East passed (are you still awake?) in at $1,710,000
  • 11 Stawell Street, Prahran East roused four (!) bidders and sold (!) for $1,361,000 after an opening bid of $1 million. It was on the market at $1.28 million
  • 28 Alfred Street, Prahran was quoted $700,000 to $770,000 wasn’t on the market until $880,000 and sold (!!!) eventually for $990,000. Its Council valuation is around $1.1 million, suggesting the new owners should apply for a reduction in their rates. They’re not alone – Stonnington and Boroondara Councils could need a new adding machine before this is all over.

Excitement? Well, the 11 times table was pretty exciting at Alfred Street.

Next week promises doldrums (that ball game again) – and after the schools go back there are only seven or eight weeks left in which sales might be made before it all really goes ni-ni’s for summer. It will be interesting to see what sort of final act there is in a year that is yet to really waken.

Little cause so far to rouse any Rip Van Winkles or to expect the imminent arrival of someone called Godot. Nothing’s happened. And now it looks like it’s happening again.

Christopher Koren

Bayside: Land of contrasts

The Brightons were disproportionally represented by over 20 auctions scheduled over the weekend – but only until the hammers fell or, more often, failed to fall.

More than half had to deal with failure – and of those most did not see a single bid (and even when bids were made they fell well short of reserves).

Another hint to vendors that, even in Melbourne, auctions are no longer the method of choice?

To auction or not to auction has become a very tough call. The auction route is expensive and emotionally draining and when it fails it’s a very public failure – but when it works it can be hold-on-to-your-hats time.

Which takes us to one of those very rare beach-front properties in Brighton and some of the most desirable real estate in Melbourne. The last three auctioned on the foreshore all sold under the hammer; and 29 St Ninians Road appeared to be a near cert.

Perfect day. Eloquent auctioneer. Silence.

Not a bid. Little sign of any activity. Passed in at $4.2 million and now it sits with an apparently reasonable reserve of $4.6 million. Still no takers.

And not alone …

Despite its Golden Mile location, exceptional build quality and generous living spaces, the twilight auction during the week of the townhouse at 3 Chatsworth Avenue failed to fire. It’s now yours for $4,150,000.

A builder’s new home at 37 Windermere Crescent did a little better, despite being passed in at $2.6 million. Two later offers of $2.7 million, but further work has to be done to close the gap to the reserve of $2.9 million. $2.8 million, anyone?

Despite its generous 1115 sq m, no joy at 79 Roslyn Street. Vendor bid of $2.3 million and the reserve is $mystery.

40 Dendy Street is wallflower of the week. A 919 sq m vacant lot, it was passed in and now has a $2 million reserve – and suggests 13 Wilson Street, which sold for $1,750,000, was exceptional value.

Contrast all that with 1/47 Black Street.

One of a cream brick pair on a corner site. Well located but nothing special. For sale by trustee, so an auction was logical but that was about as far as logic went.

An opening bid of $600,000 was countered by the auctioneer’s $650,000 and then the floodgates opened. At $800,000 it was declared to be on the market and then it became an all-in wrestle between five players until  the victor was declared at $1,114,000.


$314,000 above the reserve?


Contrast again: 1 Blairgowrie Court.

Out-there architecture. Lashings of concrete, glass, attitude.

Last sold by EOI for $4.3 million just on three years ago. Then a roof-top fun + games area was added.

On Saturday the highest offer was the auctioneer’s $3.25 million, followed by touching appeals for a little bit more. Post-auction, our understanding is that close to another $500,000 was put on the table.

Some table. It sold.

50 Cochrane Street was another study in contrasts – this in buyer tactics.

The vendor’s original hope was for mid-to-high $2 millions, later reality-driven to early-to-mid $2 millions and then it became a study in buyer contrasts. One would offer a rise of $20,000, the other would counter with an increase of $80,000 – and so it went until it was passed in at $2,220,000, leaving the $20,000 bidder with rights to negotiate. That took just one more bid – $80,000(!).

35 North Road for $1,710,000. About right. (That’s another contrast.)

And then the saga of 2-4 Sandown Street – a property with plenty of recent history, which was re-sold prior to auction. It’s on 1082 sq m with a planning permit for four seriously expensive apartments in a quiet Golden Mile location and the bay at the end of the street.

A couple of years ago, three of the four apartments were reported to be sold off the plan but then it all went awry and the land was eventually sold in January – at $4 million – but did not settle and the contract was rescinded.

The most recent sale was negotiated at $3.7 million so there’s a vendor contemplating a missing $300,000 plus costs. Hats off to the perseverance of the agents. They’ve sold the land twice and pre-sold three of the apartments and may only now be collecting a fee.

99 Martin Street was auctioned over a month ago and our thoughts at the time were that the pass-in figure of $2.25 million should have been enough – that the reserve of $2.5 million was optimistic.

Sorry. Wrong. It’s just sold for $2.45 million.

Elsewhere in Bayside: Hampton and Sandringham were on holidays, there were signs of life in Highett with a handful of auctions and Beaumaris / Black Rock are still short of interesting listings.

There’s a football game next week. Our thanks to Sydney for being there in lieu of you-know-who.

Damian Taylor

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