Rights, wrongs and wallflowers …

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

Today’s paper (see below) says the top end is taking a battering. Yes. Well. Told you so.

Six months ago.

Yet still the conversation deafens among the she’ll-be-righters, the you-just-wait-’til-Spring sayers.

[pullquote]”They live in hope.”[/pullquote]They live in hope.

Let us take a suburb at random and delve a little deeper.


Currently there are about 140 properties for sale in Toorak; around 60 of which are houses or town houses.

Spoilt for choice. Pick something up in no time.

Well …

There’s no need to hurry. Most have been wallflowers (or re-packaged wallflowers) since about the time Melbourne last won a premiership. Many have been offered before and before and before and now sit quietly on real estate websites in the hope someone will notice.

And they do notice. We do. Some of them are great houses, so what could possibly explain their failure to sell?


Many prices being asked suggest there are vendors with dreams that someone new in Toorak will appear out of a puff of smoke and become their fairy godmother.

It helps if you believe in fairies.

But that’s not likely if the hope is for $5 million. It’s even less so if it’s over $10 million. It’s a near-breathless impossibility above $15 million.

But …

“Vendors must sell.” Yes. Right. Heard that last year. Same houses, same vendors, sometimes different agents.

[pullquote]”…let us reach for the litmus paper and measure the tangible: land.”[/pullquote]So let us reach for the litmus paper and measure the tangible: land.

Land in Toorak is typically exchanged for between $350 and $500 per square foot – depending on where it is and its possibilities.

Last weekend we paid $290.



Also last weekend there were a couple of high-profile pass-ins which again demonstrated that auctions above $3.5 million are virtually always doomed to be train wrecks – their owners not only out of pocket but their negotiating positions seriously compromised.

In prospect? A couple of soon-closing expressions of interest campaigns:

  • 12 Lansell Road. Will it come near its last sale price?
  • 10 Myoora Road. The wallflower of wallflowers. Last year’s highest offer was $2 million below where the vendor thought it should be. This year it may be lucky to rise even that high. Sentiment is a tide and that tide is out.

Confusion rules in Davis Avenue … or was it a double backflip with twist?

Flurries of hands. Two bidders ramp it up to an astronomic (it’s a cottage, people) $1.99 million and it’s sold.


Reality sets in. The winning bidder decides not to sign.

The under-bidder steps in and does sign – for a couple of hundred thousand above where we believe it should have been.

The question is: Was this a genuine debacle or a debacle-by-design?

A dummy wearing new clothes?

A buyer’s ploy?


David Morrell

Something to say? Add your comment below.

Pall hangs over prestige property market

Buyer advocate Christopher Koren said nervous banks were tightening their grip on the market, lowering loan to value ratios… The Age

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