March 23. Alice, Wonderland, etc.

Let us answer some frequent questions and help you make sense of all this …

Are shares and top end property now aligned?

Sorta. In the sense that cashed-up offshore investors are now picking over the bargain bins created by falling markets and a depressed AUD. In the share market, it’s Rio, et al; in property there are examples such as Struan Street, Toorak, an off-market sale at over $8 million, Maple Grove which sold post-auction for $1 million over the final bid at auction and a house in Malvern which had been languishing for over 12 months finally selling for $2.5 million.

All went to overseas buyers, none of whom were ex-pats. All will require Foreign Investment Review Board approval. It would be interesting to know on what basis that is now being granted.

Am I seeing double?

You are. You are. (There, you’ve just done it again.)

Some familiar addresses are reappearing; apparently as new listings. Some have even come back, back, back for the third time in 12 months.

As Julius Sumner Miller never tired of asking: Why is it so?

Choose your answer:

  1. There’s so little choice that even lemons deserve another chance.
  2. There’s so little stock that even the over-priced might find a buyer.
  3. There’s so little real work for agents to do that if they can persuade owners to try, try, try again, they (the agents) will at least have some ads appearing with their names on them and so may attract other vendors with decent properties to sell.
  4. A dead horse feels no pain (but its buyer might).

Why is the top end market dead?

Again, a multiple-choice answer. According to the agents:

  1. “The Easter Bunny is coming and has frightened the vendors away.”
  2. “The Easter Bunny is coming and has frightened the buyers away.”
  3. “I’m only an agent, I haven’t got a clue.”

What you can be sure of is that what’s on offer now is about all there will be until after the school holidays; and we’re currently seeing the least activity in 30 years.

Is there any hope at all?

Well, yes. There are a few good properties coming up next weekend; and there’s an increasing trend to off-market transactions which is occasionally bringing worthwhile property to market. We would like to see more (and so would a number of our clients).

We know the demand is there; it’s the supply that’s the problem. Too few quality choices at reasonable prices.

The future?

The crystal ball has shattered, but we’re hoping to see more decent choices becoming available after the holidays. Following that, a June 30 deadline will be looming for some.

In the interim, and unhappily, the Family Court remains the one reliable market catalyst.


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Peakless in Bayside.

The third weekend in March is, under normal circumstances, a peak auction time in Bayside.

Not this year.

From Elwood to Mordialloc was strangely quiet. Relatively few auctions and only a few private sales made all week.

As expected, Elwood was busiest in the “hot” $300k to $600k range; and also recorded one sale in the million plus bracket: $1.2 million on the  Ormond Esplanade.

Brighton and Brighton East were mainly active under the million dollar mark: six sales and a solitary sold-before: 41 Clonaig Street sold for $1,075,000

Of the very few auctions conducted in this area, 1/16 Black Street, Brighton, a two bedroom ground floor apartment next up from Church Street, was fiercely contested by multiple bidders and sold for $605,000; well in excess of its reserve.

Hampton, Sandringham, Black Rock and Beaumaris had mixed results. Anything under a million dollars again found buyers while the upper-level offerings continued to struggle.

Beaumaris had a bet each way: 5 Mariemont Avenue was passed in without a bid (they were asking $1,410,000) while 17 Cloris Avenue (quoted at $1.6 million+) was sold privately for $1.53 million.

172 Beach Road, Sandringham, was passed in at $1.45 million. Its reserve is $1.52 million.

Further down the Bay, Highett, Cheltenham, Mentone, Parkdale and Mordialloc recorded 19 sales for the week; ranging from $250,000 for 2/56 Milan Street, Mentone to $845,000 for 2 Maiya Court, Cheltenham. They’re solid sales at the lower end, but nothing approaching spectacular.

And the middle market “rock” of Bayside: Bentleigh (with able assistance from neighbouring Ormond and McKinnon) saw a 100%  auction clearance rate and total transactions for the week numbering 11 sales with only one just cracking seven figures: 13 Anthony Street, Ormond sold privately for $1,012,500.

Bayside has recorded some of the biggest transactions in Melbourne this year and will be tested again when expressions of interest close on two very good yet very different houses.

14 Coronet Grove, Beaumaris is “a spectacular architectural creation” on the bluff overlooking Beaumaris Bay. Its suggested price is around $4 million.

28 Cole Street, Brighton is the product of locally well-regarded architect Nicholas Day and builder Max Hudgton. It’s in Brighton’s Golden Mile and they’re looking for over $5 million.

Stay tuned.


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