May 18/19: Better late than …

Top End Trends has come late for some this week. Next week we’ll be working on less haste and more speed…

Lost: One Global Financial Crisis. Please return to…

The GFC appears to have gone missing in Melbourne.

Upper-end Sydney property has died a death, on the Gold Coast they have to give cars away to persuade people to buy, but ? Melbourne?

Clearance rates at auctions are bordering 90%. Of the 11 auctions we saw over the weekend, crowd numbers were down but multiple bidders were out in force. And they were serious.

7 Jaques Street, Hawthorn East got started with an opening bid of $1.1 million, was on the market at $1.3 million and sold for $1.4 million. Four bidders and a crowd of about 80.

18 Cromwell Road, South Yarra began with a vendor bid of $3,500,000, was passed in on just one genuine bid of $3,520,000 and sold later for $3,550,000. There were about 70 onlookers.

18 Rowena Parade, Richmond had an opening bid of $700,000, was on the market at $755,000 and sold for $816,000. Four bidders and a crowd of around 40.

6 Bowley Avenue, Balwyn had an opening bid of $1.95 million, was passed in at $2,150,000 and sold shortly afterwards.

Earlier this month we noted that the changes to Foreign Investment Review Board requirements appeared to be prompting more interest from overseas buyers. Asian buyers and investors were present at over half the auctions we attended over the weekend; and may be set to become a permanent feature.

Meanwhile …

Off-market sales are still taking place, notably one property in Albert Park: it was with one agent for private sale at $2.6 million and had no takers. The vendor moved the property to another agent and (look for the logic here) increased the price to $2.8 million. Lo and behold, a week later it sold to people from Geelong.

Presumably the lower price just wasn’t enough.

With that exception, it seems vendors and their reserve prices are at last meeting the market and competition is almost guaranteed at auction.

If that continues, what do such high clearance rates suggest for the newly-introduced ?expressions of interest? campaigns?

Going, going, gone?


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Bayside habits immortal

Underquoting and dummy bidding. The most prevalent evils of our auction system.

They die hard.

Recently, as we have commented before, there has been too much underquoting in Bayside. Now it has been joined by its even less salubrious sibling. The dummy bidders are back.

Morrell & Koren has a long history with dummy bidders*. We have exposed them (sometimes loudly) at more auctions than we can remember. We also influenced legislation in Victoria and New South Wales which promised heavy financial and other penalties applying to those convicted of such deception, be it by the bidder, the auctioneer or the vendor.

And so dummies were banned. End of problem.

Well, not quite.

Dummy bidding is difficult to prosecute and the legislation is flawed in that respect.

And so …

Conclusion of a major Bayside auction on Saturday: a losing bidder is confronted by the principal of an opposing agency and loudly reminded about the law against dummy bidding. Affronted loser protests his innocence. Innocent bystanders (the jury?) unconvinced. The auctioneer, outraged, attacks his Blackberry in search of his solicitor’s phone number. Cacophony of denials all round.

Next step: Office of Consumer Affairs.

Meanwhile, back at the coal face …

Bentleigh’s big move is still on. 19 auctions and 16 sales plus a handful of private sales. Most falling within the “affordable” $550-750,000 band with one (in Somers Street) reaching $1,135,000

Beaumaris was also busy in private sales. The standout 170 Tramway Parade selling for $1,435,000. 3/427 Beach Road sold for $1,125,000.

In neighbouring, low turnover Black Rock, 56 Bayview Crescent has been sold for $1,252,500, $2,500 (!) above its quoted private sale price.

Two off-market sales were made in Brighton East during the week. In Shasta Avenue land (670 sq m) sold for $1,175,000 and a large near-new family home in Edro Avenue was quietly sold for $2.1 million.

Brighton saw the highest auction result in Melbourne for the weekend with the sale under the hammer of a brand new house on 615 sq m at 70 St Andrews Street. Two bidders competed after the auctioneer kicked off proceedings with an ambitious vendor bid of $2.4 million. After a brief referral, the property was knocked down at $2,630,000.

Against the trend, Brighton also recorded one of the lowest prices seen in the suburb for years: a one bedroom flat at 3/138 New Street which went for the princely sum of $340,000

2 Porter Street, Hampton has finally sold after languishing on the market since before Christmas. An offer of $1.2 million was agreed, a long way south of the pre-Chrissie expectation.

4 Retreat Road, Hampton is still available after a vendor bid of $1.3 million was as high as it went. They’re hoping (praying?) for $1.35 million.

And finally to Sandringham. Although no auctions were held, several private sales were made during the week, notably 34 Bamfield Street at $1,020,000 (less than the quote range) and a new house on a compact 641 sq m at 42 Harold Street which sold for $1,710,000.

Auction activity in Bayside returns with a vengeance over the next two weekends; and a number of expression of interest campaigns close within the same period.

Forward auction and private sale bookings for June are thin, so we anticipate a flurry of buyer activity for the stock which is available in what remains of May.

Savvy buying to all.


If you have personal experience of under quoting or suspect incidences of dummy bidding, you are welcome to record your thoughts publically in our comments section (being mindful of the laws of defamation), or click here if discretion is required.

*For the uninitiated, dummy bidding is when an apparently legitimate bidder is bidding against genuine buyers. In fact they have no intention of buying and are there only to bid the price up to benefit the seller. They are usually acting under precise instructions from the vendor or from the auctioneer or its agents.


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