Exceptional times

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

There is no normal anymore. Everything is the exceptional.

Nothing’s happening up in the stratosphere? Right. With the exception of two off-market sales – each over $12 million – in the past week. Not cheap. Not forced sales. Not 10-15% discounts. Just four parties who wanted to transact quietly and to get on with their lives without all the noise that deafens mere mortals at lower climes.

[pullquote]…after that there are no rules.”[/pullquote]And then came an exceptional “private” auction at 11 Bates Street, Malvern East. The rules? First rule is to put your first bid on paper before you’re invited to attend – after that there are no rules. The agents make them up as they go. It began with a bid for $5.9 million right there on a piece of paper. But “the bidder” didn’t show (sorry, suspicious minds). And then an auctioneer asked for bids over $200,000 above that. Silence. Then an Innocent Party raised her hand to offer another $50,000. Passed in. Let the games begin. One Innocent Party, five agents. Equal contest? Some serious money later, it was over.

Contrast that sitting-in-the-dentist’s-chair-waiting-for-the-drill scene with what might have been: street-side on a Saturday afternoon with a crowd of locals creating the buzz and everything on the up-and-up.

And then from the what-should-always-be-the-exception-but-isn’t dept: 14 Airlie Avenue, Prahran. Multiple bids from four, three and then two bidders before the property is passed in at $2.5 million. Right, you’d reckon: the property’s value has now been openly established by the market. And 10 minutes later it’s sold for $2.65 million. Pardon?

Kids, if ever you are in this situation – if ever you have bid what is probably already too much for the “right” to negotiate – the first thing to do is turn to the under-bidders and ask whether they have any further interest. No? Then the market is you. Now is the time to park your emotions and to make what you think is a reasonable offer – and then wait. Do not be harried or hurried. The cards, at last, are in your hands. You should not pay more money to sellers and their agents than the rest of the market is ready to pay. There are charities which could really use that money.

Exceptional area? Inner city. Especially below $2 million. They’re brawling in the streets – some of the biggest stoushes you’ll find beyond late-night King Street – and it’s leaving some vendors as clear winners.

What’s up? Lack of choice. Holidays looming. “I’m sick of looking.” And the worst reason of all: “I’m not gunna be beat by him!.”

Walk away. Or toss a coin. Just don’t let the emotions take over, as in…

The house next door has come up for auction and he’s decided to buy it. Slight complication: So has his ex. Cue hammer and tongs. No holds barred. And soon they’ll be neighbours. (Someone should be acquiring the film rights.)

Us? Commuting between MEL and SYD quite frequently. Sign of returning times?

David Morrell

Bayside: Belles, ball.

… but not everyone gets to dance with Princess Charming.

Most of the action in Bayside centred on the 20 auctions scheduled for the Brighton belles.

With a clearance rate of 50% (apparently the new not-exceptional), both pass-ins and solds were spread across the price spectrum.

Then add spice. There is nothing like a mortgagee auction to draw a crowd in anticipation of high drama and maybe a bit of blood – particularly when a top-end property is involved.

St Ninians Court, Brighton is the mayor’s office of the Golden Mile and number 8 has a privileged court setting and views of the bay at the end of the street.

The extravagant style of the house is unlikely to be regarded with great affection by the locals (“What were they thinking?” was muttered) and it was also not quite finished.

However it seems nab had had enough of the giving and was ready to take after the vendors’ efforts to unload their creation for over $7 million late last year had gone aground.

An extremely optimistic opening offer of $2 million was trumped by a still optimistic $3 million before the auctioneer decided to take charge of his own auction with a counter-punch vendor bid of $3.5 million.

Two parties then set in for the long haul and after $4.3 million was reached it was declared on the market. A third bidder then spoiled the party for the others and finally won it at $4.9 million.

A good auction? Most definitely.

A good result? Presumably so for the bank; but local owners and others selling in the area may look at that result through less than rose-tinted glasses.

At 20 Sussex Street, Brighton, a well built and fastidiously presented town house was offered in a mid-week twilight auction. Although the timing was a little out of the usual, that did not faze the assembled crowd of mostly locals and several bidders.

In the end, an entertaining auction resulted in a sale under the hammer at $2.27 million.

26 Park Street, Brighton, also went to auction. The quote of $1.8-1.9 million plus was greeted with scepticism by some and on the surface 954 sq m of prime Brighton land seemed cheap.

But it pays to do the research. Not only a single house covenant but a single-level height restriction are in place; presumably to protect the privacy of the members of the neighbouring and exclusive West Brighton Club (local goss has it that Robert Menzies once sang here). Having passed in after vendor bids of $1.9 million and $2.1 million, a sale was later negotiated. The whisper is that it went for a little over $2.2 million.

And then some balloons were pricked:

  • 11 Alverna Grove, Brighton. A glass and steel statement (AKA … ask the neighbours) in a cul de sac overlooking the William Street Reserve. A good structure, well built and presented but a little obvious for some. Despite the best endeavours of the selling team, the only bid was the vendor’s $3 million – further discussions are welcome at the reserve of $3.4 million.
  • 8 Berwick Street, passed in at $1.85 million, reserve unknown.
  • 192 Dendy Street, passed in at $2,200,000 and there was a later offer of $2,272,000. The reserve is not available for public consumption.

A little further South, would-be vibrant Hampton and genteel-ish Sandringham were busier than usual and had a rather good day with all but five from the fifteen scheduled finding new owners.

Among the notables:

Of the 10 sold it is instructive that four were sold before auction. Take what you can while it is still there … or an offer that could not be refused?

Beaumaris had the best and worst, with a sound result in blue-chip Lang Street. Number 8 was sold for $1.9 million but nearby on the equally splendid Beach Road, number 435 failed to ignite with “no bids” being reported and a reserve now set at $2.5 million.

In neighbouring Black Rock, 21 Iluka Street (Bay aspect and Royal Melbourne environs) was almost as disappointing. There was an offer of $1,950,000 after it was passed in to the vendor, but a reserve of $2,150,000 suggests there’s work to be done.

McKinnon plays second fiddle to bigger and brasher Bentleigh, but following a record-creating sale at the weekend, bragging rights have moved house.

Many regard Rose Street as being the pick of the streets on the McKinnon Hill. Add $2,930,000 to that argument with the sale of number 41 – good house, on 833 sq m, and three well-heeled buyers took it to a price that would buy well in Brighton.

Next week? Big. Over 1,000 auctions before the tap is turned off for school hols and Easter.

We are living in exceptional times.

Damian Taylor

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