Hands bloom in Toorak Road

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates While the roses are coming in to bloom at Flemington, there’s a garden of high-5’s sprouting in Toorak Road.

“It’s over!” “Happy days are here again.” [pullquote]”Maaaaaate! We’re back!”[/pullquote]

Queues are forming outside shiny car dealerships. Car sales people are flashing shiny teeth.

But do eight or ten sales make a market?

We’re seeing a lot of conflicting signals. While we were busier than ever over the “fallow” months, the market  as a whole hardly moved. In fact, if markets are measured in agents’ sob stories, rock bottom was bumped.

And so, again, it’s buyers who are ruling (is that why we have been so busy?). When a buyer’s price prevails, there’s a sale. When that buyer becomes a seller a new buyer is born.

That’s the norm. The not-uncommon exceptions include relationships going off the rails and the Family Court becoming influential – or a bank suggesting that the time is nigh. It’s then we sigh over mortgages of $5 million and equity nudging 10%. Some of us live close to edges.

The advice column

Time and again we’re asked who the really good agents are and who should be avoided.

One litmus test is … do they get out of bed? Do they sit waiting for their phone to ring or do they pick it up and ring people such as us with well-considered invitations to inspect houses their homework has told them are the kinds of houses we buy?

OK, there are some we won’t answer. Their reputations precede them.

Out in the street

7 Landale Road, Toorak. Correct price, quick sale. A vendor grabbing a cashed-up buyer before someone else did.

29-31 Deepdene Road, Balwyn. Good property, four hands raised. Price about right.

What the stats don’t tell you

Auctions ain’t it at the top end and there’s little in the way of an overall market trend.

If an individual property pushes all the buttons, the cash register rings. If not, silence. There’s no longer a panic out there to buy something, anything.

It’s the buyer’s time.

David Morrell

Bayside: Top end over the top?

Reports of activity at the top end in Stonnington and Boroondarra may sound like distant cavalry coming to the aid of Bayside hopefuls newly arriving on the market and raises a choice of questions.

Will the largesse spread to Bayside? Will the banks and their valuations spoil the party? Is there just too much available for everything to find new owners?

Top end Bayside has generally been $5-10 million and that has shrunk to $4-8 million over the past 12 months.

And, now, there are between 35 and 40 properties in Brighton with hopes from $4 million to infinity. Consider the following 10. All have serious money being spent on sales campaigns:

11 Moule Avenue Expression of Interest 29/10 $4 million +
23 Chatsworth Avenue Expression of Interest 29/10 $5 million +
10 Blairgowrie Court Expression of Interest 29/10 $6.5-7.5 million
15 Park Street Expression of Interest 30/10 $7-$8 million
166 The Esplanade Expression of Interest 1/11 $8 million +/-
47 Bay Street Expression of Interest 12/11 $5-6 million
7 Manor Street Expression of Interest 12/11 $ 4 million+
26 Martin Street Private Auction 14/11 $5 million+
3 Bonleigh Avenue Public Auction 18/11 $6-7 million
6 Were Street
(sorry, no link)
Private Sale $8 million

So many significant promotional campaigns. So many expectations of success. Will we be seeing high-5’s in Church Street?

Meanwhile, back on earth …

Life went on. Much as it had the week before. And the week before that. And the week…

With an occasional gem amid the also-rans.

The Bentleighs bounced back with a best on ground performance: 12 selling from 15 on offer.

More notable was a handful of sales topping the seldom-troubled million dollar mark.

  • 1A Roselyn Crescent at $1,210,000 stood out – it’s being claimed as a record price for a townhouse in Bentleigh East.
  • 54 Brewer Road. Private sale at $1,160,000 for a four bedroom, two bathroom period house on 600 sq m.
  • 16 Ardwick Street sold at auction for $1,150,000.

Hampton and Sandringham were relatively subdued after a big day the previous weekend, except for the auction at 28 Thomas Street, Hampton. A period timber house, it had been partially extended but was still a work in progress and sat on a relatively compact 470 sq m. Following an opening bid of $1,050,000 from someone who modesty forbids naming, a bidding duel developed with one other contender who would only bid in $250 increments. Two hundred bids later and after everything but the kitchen sink was thrown at Mr $250, the modest one prevailed at $1,152,500. Hare beats tortoise.

Beaumaris and Black Rock. Nothing to report.

Brighton. Seven sales from eleven auctions was healthy – although bidders weren’t exactly shooting the lights out.

51 Bay Street is an unusual property for Brighton: a two storey period terrace, albeit with little usable land.

Correctly quoted in the $1.6-1.75 million range, two youthful and willing bidders traded blows and despite being declared on the market at $1.7 million, there was no end in sight until at $1.9 million the light finally came on for one of them and he pulled out.

Nearby at 7 Crowther Place, a near-new family home was offered. The highest and only bid was at $2.7 million and with the evidence of a recent sale of a similar house in Windermere Crescent, this should have been about right. The vendor remained unconvinced and some post auction persuasion resulted in the very full price of $2,925,000.

And then came 11 Foote Street.

Listed for private sale and quoted to us at $1.8 million+, we know that a written offer over $2 million was presented to the agent and that buyer’s offer was effectively quarantined for almost a week by the selling agent as, behind closed doors, they were closing a deal for both 9 and 11 Foote Street to another party. On the transparency barometer, it rated about 0 from a possible 10. More will be heard.

While the auction system has taken some steps toward being cleared up, the games continue elsewhere.

And now to next week. 1200 auctions. If we survive.

Damian Taylor

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