November 26. Us? Panic?

It’s Kamikaze time in Melbourne real estate!

The panic to get on board was everywhere over the weekend. We called it last week: the market was more solid than the government. Kevin 07 (well done Kev ? we hope you bring the market to its knees; it needs something to slow down the freight train) had nil effect on an appetite which shows little sign of waning – but as in Sydney recently, there were signs of some vendors getting the jitters as a lot of properties sold prior to auction. It’s a sign of concerns about what may happen post-election and next year.

It’s a mood which is most apparent among vendors. On the other side of the fence, buyers are still hungry. We heard from a number of agents about people buying properties at first sight. Due diligence, anyone? Buy now, repent later?

It was Brighton?s turn to lead the top end: 55 New Street, a house with the entire enchilada and all the side dishes sold north of $9 million ? again price undisclosed.

1 Wellington Street, Brighton, a good Victorian also with all the extras sold prior to auction for $7.65 million against a $7 million (out there) expectation. Another example of vendors believing their best prospects are prior to the Christmas siesta and a buyer who thought completely differently.

North of North Road it was business as usual. Many sales prior to auction. Even, at 1A Glyndebourne Avenue, Toorak, on the eve of the auction. A modern renovation of a 1970?s home (a builder’s’ spec. house) on 6,000 square feet sold for $4,250,000. Under 12 months ago the property was bought for $1.75 million and has had around $1 million spent on it. Counting on our fingers suggests a profit of around $1.5 million. Do that often enough and you could be talking real money.

40 Adelaide Street, Armadale, just land, but a good 856 square metre block, sold for $3,112,000 against a reserve of $2.8 million. The losing bidder saw the property for the first time two minutes before the auction.

50 Chatsworth Road, Prahran, a double fronted Victorian on a small block of land sold for $2.4 million against a reserve of $2 million.

Again, land was keenly sought-after. 1A Wiseman Street, Hawthorn East, sold for $4,010,000 which suggests that by the time there’s a house on it the total will be $6-7 million and for that you don?t even get a AAA address.

The properties that were passed in? Over-priced or lemon-scented.

There are only three weeks left until the agents vaporise for a month or two and what’s on offer is reducing all the time. But…

But we’re seeing quite a lot of action off-market. Up here in the stratosphere, it’s becoming more and more secret men’s and women’s business.

And then …

Underquoting. It’s rife. It’s costing buyers time and money. It’s hurting reputations. So what magic balm is the Real Estate Institute of Victoria promoting?

“In an extraordinary move, REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo said he would advise his member agents to ignore key recommendations from the regulator, Consumer Affairs Victoria.” – The Age

Good one, Raimondo. That’s really going to help.

Election? What election?

In Sydney …

Only the inner west and southern suburbs showed signs of nerves in the lead-up to last Saturday’s election, with three less-than-remarkable sales in Balmain and Woolooware in the south.

A three bedroom home at 43 Darling Street, Balmain East, took the cake in the west, selling prior to its scheduled auction for $1.7 million. There seems to be a lot of slow-moving stock on the ‘insular peninsula’ at the moment.

The four-bedder at 264 Woolooware Road, Burraneer, was the only mover down south. It sold for $2.25 million while the houses at 4 Shell Road, Woolooware, and 12 Willaburra Road, Burraneer, were passed in; the latter without a paddle going up.

It was a very different story in the eastern and northern hot spots: the two districts competed neck and neck for turnover. The north continued the trend of the past few weeks with half of its properties selling prior to auction.

On a final count, the north shore won on turnover with eight properties selling over the $1 million mark while the eastern suburbs racked up the highest sale of the week with the auctioneer eventually pulling $6.53 million out of a slow and small group bidding on the tightly held 6 Gap Road, Watsons Bay, and its panoramic water views.

The next highest sale was in the north at 81 Bower Street, Manly, its $4.3 million demonstrating that ocean views more than compensate for the land being leasehold rather than freehold.

Views again drove the $3.25 million paid for the three bedroom unit around the corner from Kirribilli House at 1/22 Elamang Avenue, Kirribilli.

The same trend occurred two bays to the east with $2.2 million picking up a three bedroom unit with views on the high side at 4/39 Milson Road, Cremorne Point, and a bargain $1.125 million forked out for 6/90 Milson Road, Cremorne Point.

Up the line and making the papers with yet another case of massive underquoting, was the $1.975 million paid for 7 Nelson Road, Lindfield.

Elsewhere in the east, 27 Suttie Road, Bellevue Hill, bucked the trend by raising hardly a murmur of interest from the floor before being passed in mid-week.

In the city, leasehold was punished when 6/155 Macquarie Street, Sydney – the Piano building – was passed in on the vendor’s $2.7 million bid.

And finally for our latest gripe which is becoming common in the hot spots and which we have encountered twice this week: The so-called blind auction when the vendor calls for all interested parties to put their best offer on a contract to be opened with all other offers at a time the vendor chooses. In a word (or three): Don’t do it.

If the vendor won’t agree to a snap auction, walk away and let someone else pay the premium as occurred last Thursday night when contracts on the media’s darling of the week: 99 Adelaide Parade, Woollahra,were exchanged for a $2.8 million. Even though it’s a charming home facing north to the park, that’s still a massive price for 164 m2 of land!

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