Something is happening? Something’s happening!

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

It seems there’s been a conspiracy among the boardroom auctioneers over the past couple of weeks: don’t let anyone get home in time for dinner.

Surprise, surprise: there’s been some action. Horses have left stables, the tennis set has its whites on.

15 Chastleton Avenue, Toorak, with four bidders, bolted: $300,000 above reserve (and was still a sensible price).

Three tennis courts with houses attached popped up in Linlithgow Road.

[pullquote]… some rank outsiders also bolted home.”[/pullquote]And some rank outsiders also bolted home. The recent construction at 33 Coppin Road, Hawthorn for over $8 million? Given what the site cost not all that long ago, we couldn’t make it work on our calculator.

And while Spring is yet to trouble a number with eight figures, that may still change if a vendor or two comes back to earth. There’s interest, we’ve seen it, but not in the stratosphere.

And then there are the agents. The question we are most often asked after “How much?” is “Who should I be dealing with?”

Our view:

  1. Kay & Burton. They know a deal has to work for both sides.
  2. RT Edgar. Had fun in court, but now being busy clearing a backlog that’s been around since Mr Malthouse was Collingwood’s only coach.
  3. Marshall White. Don’t ask.

And now Edward de Bono is coming to town and agents are lining up to learn about the latest thing in thinking (a new experience for some). Will he suggest that auctions aren’t the way of the future? That EOI’s and private sales have passed their best before dates? Will he tell them about something called the internet? Will they wonder why they’re not attending a webinar instead of having to put Dr de B to the inconvenience of attending in person?

David Morrell

Brighton booms, Bentleighs bust (briefly).

18 auctions in Brighton. Testing times. And … wait for it … 10 sold! Three out of three in the Golden Mile; although prices tended toward the whiter shade of pale (the white of vendors’ complexions, that is).

  1. On the beach, 8 Mytton Grove, on Sandown Street beach, overlooking the marina. Just 613 sq m and a similarly modest house, but two bidders whose enthusiasm at times defeated the auctioneer’s arithmatic. Sold, eventually, on the money at $6,050,000.
  2. Around the corner at 8 Moule Avenue. Modest house and land (658 sq m) package. Price a suitably modest (even the agent thought so) $2,310,000 – $325/foot.
  3. St Minver, 15 Dudley Street. Attractive attic-style house on 1000 sq m. Sold around August last year for a little over $5 million. Saturday’s auction kicked off with the auctioneer offering $4 million. No response. Auctioneer tops himslef and bids $4.4 million. More no response. Passed in, but later sold for, we suspect, not a lot more than the pass-in figure.

Elsewhere around Brighton:

  • 6 Byron Street. Close to sold with a post-auction offer of $1,875,000. Declined. Wise?
  • 299 New Street. Percy Grainger’s birthplace, but it’s changed somewhat since (the fruit trees have blossomed into up-end apartments, the old house has had a serious makeover). The only music heard was the auctioneer’s $1.7 million. Passed in.
  • 190 Church Street. Sold for $3,112,500, somewhat shy of the $3.5 million plus being touted less than 12 months ago.
  • 92 Wilson Street. Sold following a successful (for the vendor) EOI campaign. Price believed to be $2,880,000.
  • 14 Comer Street, East Brighton. Wrapped up post-auction a couple of weeks ago at a respectable $2,350,000.
  •  3/2 Dendy Street. Privately sold for $3 million.

A little further down the Bay, 107 The Crescent, Sandringham, has finally sold for a figure believed to be in the high $2’s.

Hampton and Sandringham had eight auctions with 50% sold. Highest was 7 Francis Street at $1,500,000.

Beaumaris and Black Rock have been flying under the radar in recent times. Auctions a hive of inactivity, but private sales are happening.

The Bentleighs barely raised a pulse on the weekend. Just three sold from 10 on offer, but any more interest rate cuts could quickly change that.

Overall, listings have jumped in the past fortnight – leaving little time to conduct sales campaigns before the Christmas closure. Agents with full books will no doubt be delighted with the appointments and the square centimeters in the media, but may soon despair of their chances of finding buyers for every property.

Genuine sellers with realistic late-2011 expectations will be well met by an emerging pool of buyers now willing to commit – and in fact anxious to buy ahead of the new year. And there will still be those – from both sides of the fence – for whom the time never seems right and who will still be on the merry-go-round come next year.

Damian Taylor

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