March 10. Melbourne takes a break

While Melbourne took a holiday, the top end moved to Portsea and took a litmus test. And passed. Yes, there’s a belief that the wind has changed in the buyer’s direction, but if you dissect top end sales over the weekend, people are still chasing quality and there is not a lot of that around.

Down in the playground, 329 Point Nepean Road, Sorrento, an elevated block but land value only, had four bidders and was passed in for $1.8 million. It then sold for $2 million. 2761 Point Nepean Road, Blairgowrie had just two bidders, sold for $2,975,000 with a vendor who would have been happy to accept $2.6 million. 4 Farnsworth Avenue, Portsea, including tennis court and pool on a large block of land, passed in on a vendor bid then sold later for $1,360,000.

Today’s lesson? If it’s good there will be interest. If it’s not AAA, it will struggle.

Back in Melbourne, with most of the agents having gone walkabout, the market wasn’t as hot as the weather, but there was still some strength.

17 Union Street, Armadale a period home in need of serious work, sold for $1,570,000 against a reserve of $1.4 million.

4 Grace Street, Malvern a block of land which sold for $1.7 million during the bidding frenzy of six months ago, fetched $1.85 million second time ’round.

Many vendors are now looking at offers prior to auction. That worked to our advantage in a number of cases; especially among people anxious to avoid competing in the stampede of auctions coming next weekend.

Looking at what’s on offer over the internet and the press suggests there’s hardly a good house left at the top end in Melbourne. While this will change, there are still a few being offered quietly off-market which are worth a look.

Good property is not going backwards, but it’s harder and harder to find. For any real choice you’ll need to wait until after Easter.

A Tale of Two Sydneys

While the Eastern suburbs powered along, apparently oblivious to the world around them, last week the rest of Sydney’s top end stopped dead in its tracks.

While the East recorded sales of at least 12 houses and apartments over $1.6 million and only four non-events, the Northern suburbs only managed two sales; one being of the three bedder at 28 Wyong Road, Mosman for $1.7 million and the other a four bedroom house at 17 Botanic Road, Mosman. The list of properties that were either passed in or attractive only to their vendors included 46 Artarmon Road, Artarmon, 16 Crowther Avenue, Greenwich, 2 Koola Avenue, Killara, 63/20 Bonner Avenue, Manly, and 28 Cliff Street, Manly.

The inner West was out for a duck while the South racked up only one run with 176 Nicholson Parade, Cronulla selling prior to auction for $2.25 million.

If the story ended there, it would be hard to deny the impact of the carnage occurring in overseas financial markets and the shaky local economic outlook.

The Eastern suburbs, however, gave a conflicting picture, notwithstanding the emergence of several off-market opportunities caused by their vendors wanting to avoid being associated with any suggestion of a forced sale.

For a test of the investor’s market in the East, you would do well to start with the re-development site at 6 Onslow Avenue, Elizabeth Bay. Quietly on the market since late last year with a price-tag of $15 million and the promise of five or so luxury apartments, it was recently offloaded (off-market) for about $12.5 million without a development consent – not a bad price for interrupted view corridors at the lower level. No bears in that pit with re-sales needing to be pitched at over $20,000 per square metre to justify the outlay.

Bellevue Hill was again strong with the six-bedder at 67 Cranbrook Road, Bellevue Hill selling for $5.005 million counterpointed by 17 Kambala Road, Bellevue Hill passed-in mid week at $6.975 million and 10 Streatfield Road, Bellevue Hill failing to attract anything more than a $2.2 million vendor’s bid.

Paddington was again almost unstoppable with 65 Goodhope Street, Paddington leading the pack and selling prior to auction for $3.08 million – that result achieved after this property was purchased with number 67 next door late last year and re-sold earlier this year in two lots. The sale was another interesting test of the Eastern suburbs investor market as 65 Goodhope is a challenging development proposition.

Next in line was 34 Flinton Street, Paddington which sold for $1.935 million.

The only dropped ball in Paddington was 11 Elizabeth Place which was passed-in for $5.05 million.

Again bucking the trend identified earlier this year, apartments came next led by the three bedroom offering at 12/58-61 New Beach Road, Darling Point (AKA 23 Yarranabbe Road) which sold for $4.258 million, eclipsing the next bay closer to the city when the East/West facing three bedroom hacienda at 2/38 Macleay Street, Potts Point sold mid-week for $3.75 million.

The other big house sale during the week was 58C Wentworth Street, Vaucluse which took a healthy $4.35 million to secure.

Further down the ladder, but again confirming that the best streets in Redfern are now on a par with their Surry Hills counterparts to the North of Cleveland Street, was the sale of the fully renovated three bedroom terrace with the upside of potential parking at 175 Pitt Street for a very healthy $1.77 million. Surry Hills in fact came significantly off the boil with 18 Richards Avenue, Surry Hills exiting the scene last Saturday on a $1.65 million vendor’s bid – a very surprising result for an all upside opportunity in one of the best streets. The Redfern result also compares more than favourably with the sale of a three bedder in a trendier locale at 19 Bon Accord Avenue, Bondi Junction for $1.72 million.

It is too early to tell what all this might mean. What we can say for sure is that we are in for an interesting time after Easter.

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