November 5. Race doesn’t stop real estate

It’s Melbourne’s Long, Long Weekend and the start of a silly week – and irrefutable evidence of just how quickly and how fast the top end has moved over the last few months. Land value per square foot is the true litmus test of the direction and mood of the market. On Saturday, 14 Kent Court, Toorak, which was only sold four months ago for $2,275,000 went to auction again and sold for $2,770,000 without so much as a new coat of paint – a gain of nearly $500,000 for 30 days ownership! It surely is the silly season. And there were two bidders.

There wasn’t much else to talk about, but next weekend is looming as one of the biggest for the year in both volume and quality of stock. Given that there are in effect only six more weekends to sell in the the next three months, what you will see over the next two weeks will climax the market of 2007.

What’s the buzz? Interest rates. Interest rates and the possible change of government.

That’s led to some vendors hitting the panic button with instructions to sell prior to Christmas. They could get lucky. Our clients (who represent most of the top end of the market) are not of a mood for holding back. Sellers, and buyers, looking to end their uncertainties? May they meet in the middle.

You may also see a surge in the holiday market. Those who are frustrated in their desire to upgrade in the city – and who are no longer being seduced by the equity market – are looking over the horizon and toward the ocean.

One case in point: Saturday at 18 Victor Street, Port Lonsdale. The property had a reserve of $920,000. The current vendors paid $860,000 for it four years ago, placed a reserve of $920,000 on it and it sold for $992,500 with two bidders. While Point Lonsdale has limited supply, keep an eye out for any movements in Portsea/Sorrento and Lorne.

All real estate groupies’ eyes, as usual, will closely scrutinise the holiday market in January. If that goes to form, it is a great indicator of what’s in store for 2008.

’tis the season to sell prior

Tra, La, La, La, La, La, La, La, La…

Nothing like a looming election and a near certain interest rate rise hike to prod some vendors into action. Eight of the 18 properties reviewed in this week’s Sydney Top End Trends sold prior to auction and only one was passed in.

In the week before the Melbourne Cup, the Northern Suburbs led the field for volume. A five bedroom home at 70 Undercliff Road, Harbord, was first across the line – selling prior to auction for $4.8 million. A four bedroom home in the prime precinct at 4 Union Street, Mosman, was second across the line at $4.075 million followed by the ‘view spectacular’ three bedroom unit at 1/22A Queenscliff Road, Queenscliff which sold for $3.575 million. A three bedroom offering at 2/54 Lauderdale Avenue, Manly was the scratching – passed in at $3.7 million.

After lengthy negotiations, we managed to snare (pre-auction) a stunning master built five bedroom home at 17 Amarna Parade, Roseville facing a reserve to the north and located in a cul-de-sac terminating at the golf course. It was $2.4 million. Some of these pockets represent good buying relative to their ‘east side/walk rail’ cousins east of Archbold Road.

Also selling prior to auction and consolidating recent local gains was a five bedroom home at 15 Burra Road, Artarmon for $2.25 million. Around the corner, another four bedroom home sold prior for $2.2 million at 48 Chiltern Road, Willoughby.

Lower down the North Shore, a hefty $3.45 million was needed to buy 8/10-18 Cliff Street, Milsons Point – a big price for a three bedroom unit surrounded by a forest of other units – proving once again that Harbour Bridge views attract the big money. Just up the highway, a respectable $2.61 million was paid at auction to secure a five bedroom home at 39 Balls Head Road, Waverton; a sleepy and undervalued pocket of the Lower North Shore closer to the water than the Prime Minister’s home which is one train stop to the north and currently undergoing renovations.

Nerves were evident in the east with two sales prior to auction including the mid-week disposal for $6.5 million of the wreck of a former mansion at 115 Queen Street, Woollahra – next door to the famous and still unsold St Kevin’s. Next across the line at $4.75 million, was the four bedroom home at 62 New Beach Road, Darling Point. Massive water views north to the heads drove the price for 1903/180 Ocean Street, Edgecliff to $4.125 million. Elsewhere, $3.71 million picked up a four bedroom home at 35 Hewlett Street, Bronte, which has well and truly awoken from its slumber a few years ago – celebrities and others cannot get enough of the suburb despite its access problems. At 14 Bulkara Road, Bellevue Hill, a five bedroom home sold under the hammer for $3.45 million.

Not much action in the south, except for $2.4 million paid for a four bedroom at 22 Algernon Street, Oatley. We never quite understand Sydneysiders’ preference for the east and north over the picturesque and often waterfront suburbs such as Oatley and Blakehurst.

Pound for pound, there was more nervousness in the Inner West than elsewhere in Sydney, with two of the three “Top End” properties selling prior to auction. The first and most expensive was a four bedroom home with Harbour Bridge views next to the park at 109 Mort Street, Balmain, which sold for $3 million. Next was a three bedroom home also with water views at prestigious 34 Wharf Road, Birchgrove, which ran the distance to post a healthy $2.63 million. Down the river, $2.35 million prior to auction secured a large four bedroom unit with water views, its own marina and massive outdoor terraces at 5/22 Drummoyne Avenue, Drummoyne. Add at least another half a million dollars had this unit been one bay around in St Georges Crescent which is further from Gladesville Bridge and not so much under the flight path.

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