The Rise of The Whisperers

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocates

The invitiations have been sent, the table is set, the door-bell is ringing.

The guests! Here at last!

First in is a wallflower last seen last year: Grosvenor Court, Toorak, escorted by a footy team of agents (being on the market for 18 months and with three different agencies can do that) and finally found a suitor. The price? Beyond what we would have advised, but there was a buyer and there was a wallet and at last the deed was done.

Next in tramps an out-of-tune marching band called Clearance Rates, playing their one song. No hit, and a lyric that defies interpretation. Who is reporting? Who is not? Who is burying the dead? Unsingable.

Sneaking through the gloom creep The Whisperers. They’re only guests who really have news to crow about, but what they know they do not tell; so we’ll tell you.

EOI’s are coming and going and only a few are allowed to know how they went. Around one in three are finding happiness while the wallflowers are left to wonder whether Prince Charming will ever show up.

But there has to be a belle or there is no ball and last week’s was 202 Kooyong Road. The EOI closed and immediately after the deed was done – at about 10% over the odds. It just takes two to tango.

So, yes, deals are being done. We have played the role of introduction agents for properties at $5 million and over at a greater rate in the past few weeks than we have since The Gloom descended. But while volume is up, prices are not. The litmus test in Toorak is good land and that’s been stuck at around $500/sq ft through several market peaks and valleys.

Case in point: 9-10 Lisbuoy Court. Three bidders took it to just under $500/sq ft over the weekend and that’s where it sold.

11 Hopetoun Road (not a $500/ft address) had two bidders and passed in at $5.1 million. Another example of the risk of auctions above $5 million.

And, among the crowd …

Shadow Men. Raising their hands then slinking quietly away. Return of The Dummies coming soon to an auction near you.

What’s in store?

Today’s Weekly Review is as slim as a thin pizza base. Scarcity looms.

And so do some tasty morsels which will appear post-Easter.

David Morrell

Bayside lives!

With barely a week to go before the end of the summer selling season, there is now little doubt that momentum has returned. A marked increase in the volume of both auctions and private sales against the same period last year. Next weekend’s 1200 properties should see the revival continue.

The season-opening burst of exuberance was never going to be sustained and the market has now settled into a rhythm where transactions are much more likely to happen than not and where multiple bidders and multiple offerings are becoming the norm.

As always, buyers are the key whether it’s a a rising, falling or stagnant market. If history is a guide it is reasonable to expect the current momentum to lead to a return to some growth in capital values; albeit modest.

With the likelihood of a changing of the guard in Canberra in the Spring, it may merely be coincidental that a gentle uplift in values is expected in the second half of the year.

Potential spoilers may be a faltering in employment or company profits or increases in interest rates. They’re risks the market will no doubt factor in and for this reason do not expect to see the double digit growth in property values of times gone by.

And never to be underestimated is the influence of a rising stock market on property values. Although the current upsurge in indices has little to do with rising profits and more to do with the weight of money chasing better yields, the sentiment of a rising stock market does have a history of leading property buyers to get ahead of themselves. So far, however, we have seen very little evidence of this occurring. May level heads prevail.

The last two weeks in Bayside? Busy.

King of the kids was the off-market sale of “Shandford ” at 17 St Ninians Road in Brighton’s money belt of old. A 1920s mansion with court, pool and 1800 sq m – at around $10 million it was the biggest result this year and may provide the impetus to jump start the very top end.

On a similar note is the recent sale at 18 Newbay Crescent, Brighton. Auctioned at the peak in early 2007 for $2.11 million, it sold again quietly a couple of years later at a nose bleed $3.6 million. The latest chapter has a sold sticker on the board at a figure (although undisclosed) closer to $ 2.4 million. Ouch.

The highest reported auction price in Melbourne over the weekend was 24 Bay Street – despite battle axe properties traditionally being hard to move in Bayside. 1800 sq m, Golden Mile, but an early 80’s style house that probably didn’t help. Two bidders took it past the reserve of $4.6 million to its eventual $4.85 million.

Undisclosed, disclosed: 47 Lynch Street, around $3.2 million.

Not Brighton?

Hampton and Sandringham sold one out of four.

Beaumaris and Black Rock one out of six.

Bentleighs: 14 out of 17.

Next week?

Life resumes.

The footy starts.

Damian Taylor

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