July 13: Spring’s near sprung, the prices riz …*

… we wonder who the underquoters is?

OK. We weren’t wondering for very long. It’s all blatantly obvious. One agent underquotes and the rest fall into line. Yes, it’s deceptive, deceitful and misleading and Consumer Affairs and the ACCC have the power and responsibility to stop it. And they don’t. So we’re going to pick up the bat again.

Very prominent, very high profile firm. We believe they’re flouting the law. We’ll see them in court. Stay tuned.

We would also like to hear from you. Tell us what you’re seeing. You can do that in the comments area below or by clicking here.

(Thank you. We feel better now.)

And so to the market, or lack of …

Now that the end of financial year, mid-winter and school holiday dampers are all mostly behind us, how is the Spring market looking?

Sparse. There are very few buds emerging. That may change, but at the top end there’s little quality to be found.

What we are seeing more of is the re-emergence of the weeds in the garden. Those that failed to sell as early as last Spring are popping up again. While ever-hopeful, the issues which stood in their way continue to stand there. (And that’s not always price.)

And then came Google …

This is a possible game-changer and one that should put a chill down the spine of every estate agent, newspaper and real estate website. Google has put together simply the best, most complete, real estate portal we have seen.

But that’s not all. Anyone can list – be they agents or private sellers – and the cost is … $0.00.

Compared to? A one-time 4.5 x 6.3cm ad in The Age real estate section will cost you a shade over $850. A listing on the Fairfax real estate site, domain.com.au, will cost you $500 for four weeks. Listing on Australia’s dominant real estate site (close to twice the traffic of domain), realestate.com.au, is only available through agents.

Suddenly do-it-yourself has become a real option. The whopping commissions agents have taken for, essentially, hanging around doorways when inspections are on, are looking shaky. Advice on price? You can get that on-line. Help preparing an ad? That’s here. Legals? The hills are alive with the sounds of lawyers.

Have a quick look at how it’s working for a simple ‘Toorak, Vic‘ search. And that is just the start.

Meanwhile, back at the coal face …

Saturday was cold (that’s news?), the school holidays meant not a lot of auction action and there were stampedes where houses were open for inspection.

In one we counted over 100 couples crowded as Connex customers, in another – just around the corner – there were 80 more. We spoke to a good number of them and they were not just coming in out of the cold. They wanted to buy, they wanted to buy now (not always clever) and they had $2 million or more to spend.

So is the market holding up? Short answer? Yes. Longer answer: Who knows for how long?

  • 20 Ross Street, Kew Land value – always the litmus test – sold last year for $1,901,000, sold last weekend for $2,335,000. 20%+ profit for doing … absolutely nothing.
  • 4 Cross Street, Toorak a modern spec house on 620 sq metres sold via an expression of interest campaign for $5,250,000. Not a big block, yet there were several disappointed punters.
  • Alexandra Avenue, South Yarra. New apartment, very busy location, also sold through an expression of interest campaign: $3.8 million.

The next few weeks? At the top end, the truffle-hunt continues. At the lower end, investors are flocking back in droves. Where were they six months ago when the real estate market was on its knees?

David Morrell

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Bayside: Auction clean-sweep pales before private sales

Melbourne’s top five auction sales for the week were all in Bayside. That’s a clean sweep which indicates the strength of the resurgence in the beachside suburbs.

It’s in stark contrast to less than six months ago when Bayside (Brighton in particular) was consigned to basket-case status with allegedly financially stressed vendors and a complete absence of buyers.

180-182 The Esplanade, Brighton a mortgagee-instructed auction last sold in November 2008 for $3.55 million. It’s 840 sq m. and includes a tired pair of maisonettes which will be demolished, yet two keen bidders pushed the price to a very strong $4,105,000.

Nearby, in leafy Sandringham, 43 Victoria Street, set in park-like grounds of 2600 sq m, sold for a more than respectable $3,350,000. Soon after, 163 Beach Road, Sandringham (on a more modest 616 sq m) was knocked down for $1,800,000.

Even discreet and private Black Rock made a podium appearance: 52 Stanley Street, an 8 room rendered house on a 453 sq m, sold for $1,440,000.

1B Lucas Street, East Brighton, in a classic example of underquoting, made it into the top five results for the week. Touted as $950,000+, the property attracted four bidders before being knocked down for $1,260,000, a mere $310,000 over the “quote” or close to 33%! Arrogant? Disrespectful? Mismanagement? Agents guilty of being so wide of the mark have little to be proud of. Their regard for buyers is clearly wanting.

And then came a couple of private sales …

1 Bay Street, Brighton finally changed hands for a price understood to be in the vicinity of $12 million. It’s over 2,000 sq m, it’s on the foreshore, it overlooks the yacht club. The new owners plan to build six luxury apartments and a penthouse.

A few hundred metres away at 25-27 Glyndon Avenue, a local buyer has forked out $15.5 million for a Jon Friedrich house with court and pool on 1500 sq m. It has uninterrupted views to the city, across the bay and down to the Brighton yacht harbour. This shatters the previous record price for a beach front property in Brighton by over $3 million and makes a strong statement about the health of the local market.
Damian Taylor

* Author? 38 seconds of web search suggests it wasn’t Ogden Nash nor ee c; Anon rides again. Apologies to Anon.

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