Off the record

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

Top End property wasn’t making the news last week, it won’t be this week and it won’t be next. With such a volatile and weird stockmarket, at least in public the top end has taken one serious dose of mogadon.

Up here where the millions play, auctions are starting to look so very last century.

[pullquote]…  cause for some (very expensive) tears”[/pullquote]Those still living back then – the vendors who have been chancing their arms – have had cause for some (very expensive) tears; and few more so than at Myoora Road, Toorak. A real bid of $9.8 million topped by the vendor’s $11 million and a reserve of … $13 million? Yes. “Hello. You’re wanted on the phone. It’s Santa.”

Where autions are working, sorta, is in flushing out buyers so that negotiations can begin. But that can be a pricey (money and emotion) route for vendors to take.

83 Walsh Street, South Yarra. Supposed “heaps” of interest. Opens on a vendor bid of $4,400,000. Auctioneer pulls teeth and extracts a real bid of $4,450,000. Passed in. Negotiations. Sells for $5,050,000. That’s some dentist. A buyer bidding against himself is persuaded to part with an additional $600,000? On whose advice?

A throwback

There’s always an exception and this one was an auction that seemed so last century: 49 Sackville Street, Kew. Four hands waving in the air. Sold sticker at $4,310,000. Quality rules.

Elsewhere, 8 Blackfriars Close, Toorak  found love at $3,250,000 after being passed in last week at $3,000,000. When sellers are motivated, sales are possible.

If not auctions, what?

A clue: Last week we took clients to inspect eight properties priced between five and twelve million dollars. All on the market, none advertised. Increasingly, the top end is behaving less and less like a conventional market and more and more like a private club.

If not the internet, what?

This off-the-radar market isn’t fond of the web. And being off the radar has implications for all the usual channels:

  • Auctions What are those? The only thing which may resurrect them is legalisation to encourage dummy bidding. Vendor bids just don’t have the theatre.
  • Expressions of Interest Secret agent’s business. Phantom buyers stalk here. Beware.
  • Print advertising Not at the top end.
  • Private Sales Around forever. And ever more. And, now, more private than ever.
  • Agents Threatened species; and they know it. But the inventive ones still justify some care and attention.


Nearly apon us and any twittering birds are being drowned by wails that there is no stock; a view belied by that fat weekly magazine (not the old one; that’s decidedly thin). But what you find there is all low- to-mid or lacking quality. There’s no statistic for quality, and no substitute for it.

OK. Maybe one or two percent of those you find listed are worth fighting over; and then the battles can be epic.

David Morrell

Bayside: briefly.

Why no long report? Not a lot to write about.

Brighton and Bentleigh were the only Bayside suburbs with anything remotely approaching activity on the weekend.

Bentleigh had eight sales from the twelve scheduled but that included two sold before auction.

18A Durban Street was the highest on the day with a final bid of exactly $1,000,000. The other end of the scale saw 5/6 Brentwood Street sold for $350,000.

Brighton looked promising: 15 scheduled auctions, but most of those promises remain unfulfilled: just six sold. Highest of those was 38 Whyte Street at $1,710,000. Not exactly golden mile.

Brighton’s passed-in properties ranged from entry-level 4/227 Bay Street ($560,000, reserve $610,000) to 7 Foote Street ($3,200,000, reserve $3,500,000).

A clutch of private sales made during the week added some respectability to an otherwise ordinary seven days:

Beaumaris, Black Rock and Sandringham conducted the grand total of one auction between them: Success for the brave at 13 Coronet Grove, Beaumaris. $1,100,000.

Hampton fared a little better with 100% clearance from all of three properties. 10A Swyer Street the highest at $946,000.

Slim pickings (is there a song in that?).

Damian Taylor

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Vendors facing the hard sell

The Age

“If the owner’s price expectations are too high, a home that failed to sell at auction can quickly become a shag on a rock,” Mr Morrell said.  XXX

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