All the games are in Bayside

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

Anything new on map 58? I wish there was something to report but there is nothing to buy, therefore there is nothing to sell. The market at the top end is the same as we reported it two weeks ago, four weeks ago, six weeks ago!

When something, anything, really does happen we will let you know, but it didn’t change over the weekend and the only transactions are are off-market and that doesn’t look like changing any time soon.

I will come back to you when there’s something to report!

David Morrell

Bayside … games with few medals.

After a month of little auction activity and with few private sale transactions of note, the first weekend in August was being keenly observed for signs, in fact any sign, of life in what has been one of the toughest Winter markets in over a decade.

Sadly, no gold medal performances, a couple of silver (up there but not quite) and the rest were bronze at best – and if medals were available for the non-performers, they might well be leaden.

Saturday’s events kicked of in Beaumaris where 28 Cromer Road was put up. “Talbot House” (c.1880) was described as being British Provincial which translates as Aussie Victorian. Rich in period detail and sited majestically on over an acre of lawns and gardens, it certainly is a significant property on one of the largest allotments in Bayside.

The auctioneer suggested a bid of $6 million would be an appropriate start. Predictably, this was met with a stony silence and after a few minutes of nothing happening, a discreet withdrawal for further instructions was made.

After assuring all present the vendor really wanted to sell, the auctioneer placed a solitary vendor bid of $5.6 million and then proceeded to pass the property in. Although the reserve is undisclosed, village gossip has it to be somewhat less than earlier expectations of closer to $7 million.

Substantial estates such as this are not easy to value at the best of times. In the current climate any price with a five in front of it should be viewed as a great result for the seller … but don’t hold your breath.

Earlier in the day, still in Beaumaris, 26 Deauville Street was offered but again no cigar. It was passed in at $2 million and the close reserve of $2.1 million suggests that all reasonable offers will be considered.

Bentleigh was very quiet – only three auctions. The major offering in the area was 2 Clee Street, high on the McKinnon Hill. It’s a 14 room house on 874 sq m but failed to ignite and although the pass-in figure of $1.8 million was later matched by a real offer, the vendor’s wish of close to $2 million suggests it will be available for some time yet.

Hampton and Sandringham were dismal. One sold out of five with a silver medal to the only result at 13 Oswald Thomas Avenue in Hampton East where a well renovated cal bung on about 600 sq m sold on the money at $1.1 million.

The Brighton Belles had a better day, marred only by a couple of results reported as sold before auction but without an auction day actually having been booked. Although they were genuine sales, in reality they should be counted as private sales and not sold befores.

We would not wish to embarrass anyone by mentioning 4 Avonbury Court being reported as sold before for somewhere between $1.7-1.8 million or 12 Normanby Street (sorry, no link) being sold before for around $3.3 million, so we won’t.

The big one on the day was on the hill at 190 Church Street where a modest clinker brick on a thumping great 1340 sq m was waiting. It was last sold only six months ago, selling then at just a little over $3 million – so this promised to be an interesting measure of the current market.

A genuine opening bid was of $2.5 million was reluctantly accepted by the auctioneer, was referred to the vendor, then countered with an agressive vendor bid of $2.8 million. Silence. Passed in. And then that $2.8 million appeared to be more about strategy than aggression. We believe it encouraged a real bid of $2.8 million which was later countered by a number closer to $3 million. We expect a sold sign soon and anything near $3 million should be greeted with considerable relief.

A thoroughly renovated and extended period family home on 921 sq m at 99 Martin Street was expected to do well but strangely all was quiet at the auction. The one and only bid was placed by the auctioneer at $2.25 million and it now sits on a reserve of $2.5 million. Although it ticks a lot of boxes, those with local knowledge will mark it down for its not-so-prime location in this section of Martin Street and the oddly period nature of the renovation which seems a bit dated for 2012.

In contrast, 1 Baker Street, a pleasing weatherboard on just 370 sq m, caught the eye of several real actual bidders and real and actual bidding took place. Although it passed in at $1.1 million, later negotiations resulted in a sale at a healthy $1.17 million.

So. Less than four weeks to the official start of Spring, and still few signs of a thaw.

Although it appears that buyers hold all the cards, if there is not much decent property to buy at the right price for the buyer, then holding a fist full of aces is just a fist full of cards which cannot be played.

The challenge, then, for Spring sellers is to be totally realistic on price. Accurate and appropriate advice from good and reputable agents experienced in current market conditions is an essential.

Damian Taylor

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