“That’s Hamish. Why is he bidding?”

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

When the vendor’s mother spies her son’s best friend bidding right up to the reserve it’s reasonable to have doubts.

Dummy bidder? Surely not.

Hamish had been to several inspections. Even the agents thought he was a hot prospect.

And we’re seeing more and more of it in the Melbourne auction scene (what’s going on behind closed doors would also make you wince).

Sydney? Makes Melbourne look like kindergarten; even if the barriers are higher. Bidders have to register pre-auction. Identity check. Bidder numbers issued to be held high.

So the dummies do it all. They go to the open houses, they get building inspection reports, they register, they bid right up to the reserve like there’s no tomorrow.

And there isn’t. They’re gone in the next puff of smoke.

Meanwhile, at the top.

164-166 Nelson Road. Silence at $4 million and not within cooee of what the vendor is asking. Our back-of-the-envelope suggests that around $35,000 has been spent on marketing in a campaign that has only shown that the price is too high.


  • one unit sold for over $13 million
  • one warehouse sold for over $11 million

Quiet. Much happens in the quiet.

And yet …

There’s still a number of Expressions of Interest campaigns following in Gerry Harvey’s footsteps. No interest ’til whenever (or at least until price reflects value).

Your turn?

What would you like to see in Top End Trends? Market overview? Reports on notable sales? Your experiences with agents? Our experiences with agents?

The giddiest open house we have ever attended?

Now it’s bunny time

Time for the top end players to head sunward. We’ll be back post-Easter.

David Morrell

damian copy

Bayside: 2014 and a quarter. The Report Card

The year began with a boom. Buyers and sellers back from the beach in February and hungry to meet one another. Auctions running at 80% clearance rates, private sales walking off the shelf.

Investors and superannuants going head-to-head with first home buyers over investment and lower-end properties. Downsizers cashing up and upgraders going to war over the best on offer.

The dollar dropped below US$ 90¢ and that 10% discount over 2013 prices saw expats starting to come home. Mainland Chinese, maybe because they were losing confidence in their own property market, maybe because they saw Australia as a safe place to to protect their assets, maybe both, started to arrive in Bayside in numbers.

And then because markets are markets and the numbers of properties on offer started to rise to meet the demand, some of the wind came out of the sails; a process augmented by hints of rising interest rates to come and a realisation that a yearly 12% growth in prices has limits. Clearance rates have dropped closer to a more sustainable 70% and, except in the standout properties, fewer buyers are raising their hands.

Not hard to see why. The combination of record high prices and record low interest rates suggests that something has to give.

A correction? I hear you ask.

Maybe, but more likely a plateauing in the second half.

April brings a breather. School hols, Easter, Anzac Day. It’s May that will set the direction for the balance of the year.

And yet. And yet …

There is one class of property which is largely immune to the weather in the market: It is tied to the desires of individual buyers.

The trophy house. The true one-of-a-kind.

Anything from classic Victorian to on-the-edge contemporary, if it ticks all the style, position, accommodation and facilities boxes — and especially if it arouses a mine’s-bigger-than-yours competition — then a runaway result is almost a given.

20% over the odds? Where’s my chequebook?

But creating trophies does take great skill and more than a little courage — and there are buyers who recognise that it can be both safer and cheaper to pay the price than attempting the extraordinary themselves.

Some e.g.’s:

41 Binnie Street, Brighton East was offered on site last Thursday evening in what was promoted as a private auction. The price of an invitation was a willingness to bid over a considerable minimum.

Around nine registered and attended, six of whom were competing at over $3.5 million. At $3.65 million it was declared to be on the market and then things really heated up. It ended at an amazed Brighton East record of $4,002,000.

High quality build, large house, 923 sq m, rear facing north. And a wow factor which must have added close to $500,000

10 Byrne Avenue, Elwood. Done up to the nines, on a huge (835 sq m) block for Elwood and a true trophy.

Four excited bidders right up ’til the moment it was on the market.

All over. Just one more bid ($4.84 million) from the ultimate buyer.

38 Cochrane Street, Brighton. Sold early last month in what started as an Expressions of Interest campaign and ended up as a boardroom auction between four parties. Contemporary, but not brand new and with considerable architectural interest, its suggested price was above $3.25 million. The hammer fell at closer to $4 million.

Top end Brighton has largely been quiet over the past few months. Stepping back a little:

  • 20 Glyndon Avenue. 1180 sq m, sold off-market for around $5.6 million with a permit for three town houses.
  • 2 Mulgoa Street, 1500 sq m for around $5.2 million
  • 25 Manor Street, 2085 sq m sold post-auction for a rumoured $5 million plus

Are there buyers in the $5-8 million range? Yes. Are there homes which will cause them to reach for their credit cards?

Do hens have teeth?

See you after Easter.

Damian Taylor


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