May 26. Doom & gloom. Punters go to footy.

It is not unusual, during the school holidays, to take a trip to Disneyland. Take the family! Have fun!

But in the eternal optimists’ world of real estate, some appear to have lost their critical faculties along with their luggage. The holidays are over, people. It’s time you came home and took a look at what the market is really doing.

And that’s not much.

At some of the auctions we attended over the weekend, you could not have raised a bid with a cattle prod. Vendor bids intended to get things going instead stopped them dead. They were just too far ahead of the real May market.

Students of fantasy and media manipulation could also do worse than listen to the estate agents’ descriptions of the current market. They’ll tell you the bottom has now passed, they’ll tell you some certainty has returned. What they are conveniently forgetting is their failed auction results.

If you listen only to the agents, you could easily form the view that there were not many auctions at the top end. There were, but many failed; and no-one is about to take credit for bad news.


  • 5 Cresmont Court, Toorak. 10,000 square feet with a modern single level home ? vendor bid of $4.5 million with the owner waiting for his lucky number to come up; rumoured to be at least $1 million north of the kick-off price.
  • 207A Kooyong Road, Toorak. On the market in different forms for the last two years and judging by the vendor’s reserve, it could be another five! A vendor bid of $3.3 million, a reserve of $3.6 million; and it’s just not that good a house.

True grit:

Outside Toorak, Hawthorn again produced some solid results.

  • 71 Kooyongkoot Road with a court and pool on 17,000 square feet and arguably on the wrong side of Callantina Road, sold prior to auction for more than $4.6 million in a Dutch auction between two parties.
  • 95 Kooyongkoot Road sold (land value only) for $2.2 million. Sounds cheap, but it’s only a 9 iron from the freeway.
  • 375 Danks Street, Middle Park sold, as expected, for $3,030,000.

All in all, a near-dead weekend. If you were searching for punters, you should have gone to the footy.



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Bayside? You should have seen the ones that got away.

Down by the bay, the fish are refusing to bite. But still there are stories of whoppers caught.

Brighton cleared a dismal 33%; made to look half-respectable only by East Brighton which managed just one in six.

And the old tricks, like the old jokes, never really go away.

Properties previously passed in are now being reported as sold. One, passed in weeks ago, was (now) apparently sold prior. A miracle!

While the auctions were carnage, the story was brighter among private sales.

  • 3 McCallum Street, Brighton, a 10 room house on 672 sq m, sold for $3 million
  • 41 Were Street, Brighton, with 8 rooms, has sold for $2.25 million
  • 165 Church Street, Brighton, sold for $3.1 million.
  • 6 Orchard Street, Brighton, sold for a respectable $3.125 million after being passed in on a vendor bid last weekend.

Hampton through to Mentone saw more bidders unwilling to take the bait: only three deposits put down from a choice of 11 properties.

You’re a vendor? Gratuitous advice: Unless you have something very special to sell – and then at a realistic price – you would be better served by private selling and saving the thousands you can blow in an unsuccessful auction advertising campaign; leaving your agents to reinvent ways to promote themselves.

Shocking, radical, thought: maybe they could use some of their own money rather than piggy-backing on their clients’ campaigns.

Sorry. Won’t happen.

On a brighter note, Bentleigh continues to lead the way in Bayside with near 70% sold. Maybe the water is different on the other side of Nepean Highway.

Less cheerfully, we do feel for those vendors who were led to expect too much by agents who are now in the Harbour City and not taking their calls.

Why are they in Sydney? It’s the Australian Real Estate Conference; the annual gabfest organised by the doyen of Sydney agents, John McGrath. With luck, the refugees from Melbourne will learn what they have learnt the hard way in Sydney over the past few years: Markets not only go up, they also go down.

Kids, it’s not all blue suits and BMW’s. When the times get tough, it also involves w.o.r.k. (Sorry. Ugly word, we know – but someone has to say it).


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