November 19. Mushrooms in Springtime?

Estate agents love the mushroom principle (if you haven’t been there before, it relates to keeping you in the dark and feeding you effluent).

If you had to rely on published results, you wouldn?t be able to buy anything, or understand the quirky movements in the market or its strengths and weaknesses. Last week there were some very high prices paid, but none were published in the auction results (it’s secret men?s business). Unless you’re at the coal-face you wouldn’t have any idea what is really going on.

Did you know…

63A Albany Road, Toorak sold before auction (price undisclosed) for just under $8.5 million. 26,000 square feet with a substantial home sounds cheap, but there is a very big United Energy sub-station smack bang in the middle of the back garden, it’s overlooked by a block of flats and on a corner where there is an accident at least once a week! Why was it sold before auction? Because they had found the one buyer prepared to overlook all that?

5 Tyalla Crescent, Toorak, a Marcus Martin renovated 2-storey family home on 10,000 square feet sold (again price undisclosed) for $6.7 million. Considering that it’s B-Grade Toorak and almost on top of St Catherine?s Girls School, that’s at the upper level of sanity but it confirms yet again the public’s appetite for properties which are ready to move into rather than those needing surgery.

39 Monomeath Avenue, Canterbury. A palace on 32,000 square feet (and not our type of property) was put up for expressions of interest which closed on Friday and failed miserably. They were looking for over $10 million. They may be looking for a long time.

90 Caroline Street, South Yarra. A 5,000 square foot block of land sold (surprise! price undisclosed!) for $3,250,000. We thought it would go higher.

Elsewhere? The story was solid.

47 Armadale Street, Armadale, a 2-storey Victorian terrace sold for $3,050,000 against a reserve of $2.3 million; which highlights just how far the love affair with period homes will push prices.

A similar story was told later in the day at 60 Kerferd Road, Albert Park. It went for $3,450,000 with two bidders against a $3 million expectation; and even though it needs $500,000 spent on it.

Ivanhoe: 49 York Avenue. A renovated 2-storey spec. home which sold for an astonishing $2.89 million. Ivanhoe at Kew prices. Unbelievable.

Investors? Still very much at the coal face and no sign of pre-election jitters. Unlike the Government, that market looks rock solid.

Clearly people would like to get set this side of Christmas. The upward spiral could continue in February or maybe the pause will cool things (any crystal balls on eBay?), but none of our clients are holding off until the new year out of choice.

All (nearly) quiet on the Sydney front.

An interesting test of the top end market this week in Sydney: all areas except maybe the east showing signs of year-end fatigue and pre-election wobbles.

Like ripples in a pond, those signs were progressively stronger the further you got away from the City; with the upper north shore and the inner (really outer) west areas such as Strathfield showing almost no signs of life.

The inner west fared a little better with the $1.64 million paid for a three bedroom house at 8 Turner Street, Balmain – a result surpassed by the $ 1.9 million paid in the unglamorous but solidly performing neighbour at 16 Tillock Street, Haberfield.

That ripple wasn’t enough to save the waterfront pile at 15b Wharf Road, Birchgrove from being passed in at $4 million.

The southern Shire bucked the trend slightly with a healthy $2.85 million paid for a four bedroom house at 69 Hawkesbury Esplanade, Sylvania Waters, followed by the $2.55 million forked out for 14 Raleigh Street, Blakehurst.

Following the other trend we have identified over the past month, both of those homes sold prior to their scheduled auctions.

Apart from the stand out $6.9 million paid for 43A Tobruk Avenue and 43B Tobruk Avenue, Cremorne, and $5 million paid for almost the last waterfront reserve freestanding home: 44 Milson Road, Cremorne Point, the rest of the lower north shore saw nervous campers off-load at least three properties prior to auction in the high one- to mid-two million bracket.

37 Provincial Road, Lindfield, led by selling for $2.452 million followed by 55 Clanville Road, Roseville, at $2.05 million and 8/9 Penshurst Avenue, Neutral Bay, at $1.93 million.

The other four top end lower north shore properties were all passed in including the tantalising but problematic 1 Henry Lawson Avenue, McMahons Point, which is again on the market and on which we carried out some pretty extensive due diligence last month before walking away. It passed in on the vendor’s $10 million bid.

Those oblivious to any problems in the sub-prime financial markets and able to sort wheat from chaff drove some strong results in the east and City penthouse markets.

Miles ahead of the pack was the three bedroom penthouse at 71/1 Macquarie Street, Sydney – sold for an enormous $8.4 million. We could write volumes about the Toaster but it’s enough to say that after taking years to recover from its stratospheric off-the-plan prices that, even with its many idiosyncrasies, it is now coming into its own.

Proving that neither views nor north to the rear aspects are essential, the superb five bedroom home on a large level block at 17 Beresford Road, Rose Bay, came second; selling for $5.5 million.

The luxury unit at 4/6 Wentworth Street, Point Piper, was next over the line at $4.825 million followed by 27 Latimer Road, Bellevue Hill at $4.02 million.

Then there was the crazy $3.8 million paid for the charming but too-big-for-its-block 32 Roslyndale Avenue, Woollahra. Spending a fortune on a four bedroom home to spend a further fortune creating another four bedroom home but with a garage didn’t make a whole heap of sense to us.

A healthy $3.3 million was outlaid in the sleeping giant region at 134 Marine Parade, Maroubra, just pipping the $ 3.2 million needed to snare a four bedroom house at 9 Pembroke Street, Bronte.

After the sale of a large four bedroom unit at 8/25-27 Spencer Street, Rose Bay, for $ 2.75 million, the eastern suburbs fell prey to the trend in other suburbs.

At least five properties between Vaucluse and the inner east were passed in between $4.161 million (10 John Dykes Avenue, Vaucluse) and $1.75 million (the esoterically re-modelled investment banker-owned pad at 37 Surrey Street, Darlinghurst).

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