March 17. Hot, damp and ironic

Hot meets damp in Melbourne

A lack of runaway results was the rule with the hot weather dampening attendances and, again, quality at the AAA end of the market was the rarest quality of all.

At most auctions there was one person bidding against a vendor’s bid or, if a buyer was terribly unlucky, there might have been two or three wanting to have a go.

The “We’re expecting a runaway,” at 14 Embling Road, Malvern didn’t break into a canter. Just two bidders, sold for $3,950,000 and wasn’t on the market until $3,920,000.

Our sources tell us that the owner was offered over $4 million before the auction. Another case of post-auction foetal position?

But if you dissect that sale, it is still a reasonable result. Assuming land value at $350.00 per foot (7,000 square feet) and a building replacement cost of $1.3 million, the owner made some gains – but most of that was the rise in land value over the 18 month period the property was held. (It also highlights that people will pay for something that is ready to move straight into.)

If you believed the agent’s hype, there would be 4-5 bidders for the high profile auction of “Comaques” – a 2 storey Victorian at 896 Glenferrie Road, Kew. Guess what, it passed in on a vendor bid and sold later for just over $4 million. That is a vendor meeting the market as next door a similar property sold 6 months ago for $4.6 million.

204-208 Wattletree Road, Kew passed in on a vendor bid of $4 million and sold afterwards for, we believe, $4.2 million.

2 Merrion Grove, Kew a Victorian on 22,000 square feet passed in for $3.55 million and sold later for $3,750,000.

“B-Grade” properties are still floundering. Case in point: 1055 Malvern Road, Toorak, where they were hoping for (overpriced) north of $3 million and failed to get a single bid.

What we did see at the coalface, which isn’t reflected in the published results, was that many properties reported as sold were in fact sold post-auction after negotiation with only one bidder.

19 Cambridge Street, Armadale passed in at $1,250,000 and sold later for $1,280,000.

11 Howitt Street, South Yarra a single fronter, sold for $1,275,000 ? where it should have.

But there are still some bright spots for vendors. When properties are sought-after, results are still solid: 14 Turner Street, Malvern a period home on 6,600 square feet with a reserve of $1.7 million, sold for $1,905,000.

In another strong result, the land sale at 2A Tahara Road, Toorak – south facing block, overlooked by flats – realised $425.00 per foot.

Coming up? A lack of quality homes in the school belt and the Easter break on our doorstep suggest you can expect a quiet week ahead.

Supreme irony in Sydney

In a week when the much of the national property market ground to a halt, Sydney recorded Australia’s highest ever sale with $32.4 million being paid for the Point Piper non-waterfront Craig-Y-Mor.

If that weren’t enough, another record fell when the Moran family reportedly forked out significantly over $16 million for the 12th floor Bennelong penthouse and its stunning Opera House views.

Below the absolute stratosphere it was far from doom and gloom at the top end, but shrinking volumes, especially on the north shore and in the inner west, suggest that the bulls are almost certainly nearing the end of their run.

The eastern suburbs raced ahead with a 4 bedroom home at 40 Gardyne Street, Bronte selling for $7.55 million.

Other strong sales in Bronte were at 16 Trafalgar Street, Bronte for $2.8 million and the three bedder at 28 Gardyne Street at $2.61 million. The only stumbles in that suburb were 33 Yanko Avenue which was passed in on the vendor’s $2.95 million bid and 443 Bronte Road which was also passed in mid week on a vendor’s bid of $2.55 million.

Elsewhere in the east, a healthy $3.35 million was needed to secure the five bedroom house at 9 Phillip Street, South Coogee while, mid-week, $2.305 million bought 43 Wiley Street, Waverley.

Away from the coast, the action in the east was almost non-existent; the sale of the well-presented 41 Sutherland Street, Paddington for $2.9 million being almost the only blip on the radar.

As for the west, and continuing last week’s trend, the pre-Easter market was all but a non-event, the real action confined to the sales of an interesting north-facing three bedroom apartment at C505/23 Colgate Avenue, Balmain for $3.55 million and the 5 bedroom pile at 17 Brunswick Avenue, Strathfield for $3.1 million – yes, there is still life out west, although you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise when at least three prestige Balmain offerings failed to get off the mark.

The north shore was more of a mixed bag, showing signs of weakness that could emerge in the eastern suburbs if the grim news from overseas financial markets continues.

Led by 6/112-114 Milson Road, Cremorne Point, which was passed in mid-week on its vendor’s $5.5 million bid, the rest of the field comprised a mixture of scratchings and falls from Turramurra and Gordon through to Greenwich.

Notable north shore sales were the sale prior to auction of 17 Ruskin Rowe, Avalon Beach for $3 million, a three bedroom house at 5 Lucretia Avenue, Longueville sold for $2.305 million, 77 Shirley Road, Roseville for $2.35 million and 98 Sydney Street, North Willoughby for $2.45 million; the latter confirming earlier predictions that North Willoughby would be one of this year’s hot spots.

And as for the south? In two words: Forget it.

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