Sept 22: Living in interesting times.

Financial meltdown, footy finals, school holidays and our first (of many to come) mortgagee auctions. It’s a recipe for uncertainty, lack of direction, fickle interest and humble pie. Prediction for the next couple of weeks? Turmoil, amounting to absolutely nothing.

We are living in interesting times.

For those of us still at home in Melbourne, the reports sounded all-too typical (and misleading), the REIV reporting a “good” result with 66% of homes offered at auction sold. To reach that number they include sold priors and sold afters. We contend that, without those, the real number is 53%

Then the Melbourne Weekly pops up with: “Despite the sharemarket gloom and market corrections, Spring brings a buzz to Melbourne” while agents, as is more and more common in these interesting times, are simply not reporting negative results. If the REIV was serious about a transparent market, they’d put an end to that.

But sold is sold, so why does it matter how it’s reported? To quote our Bayside colleague’s report of last week:

If you are bidding at an auction, the number that matters is the percentage of houses which are actually being sold at auction. If you believe that?s 70%, your strategy will be very different than if the real number is, say, 30%.

If you were to believe everything you read, you’d think the highest sale was 21 Berkeley Street, Hawthorn at $2,120,000. The mortgagee auction was the highest price fetched all week? Really?

Well … no. It just underlines that, among the better properties, the real action is still off-market.

But uncertaintly, and its bedfellow, lack of confidence, now rule. What else explains the non-event at 23 Hawksburn Road, South Yarra A good Victorian, great position, good floorplan and not one bid. They can’t all have been at the footy.

A penthouse in Abbotsford at 655 Victoria Street wanting in excess of $2.5 million passed in. (Surprise? We don’t think so; if you are spending north of $2.5 million on an apartment, there are a lot better addresses out there than Abbotsford.)

Even in Toorak apartments are still on the bugle. 50 Ross Street passed in at $2.4 million with an undisclosed reserve. In real estate language that means the agents aren’t within cooee of getting a deal together.

Same story at 5 Anderson Street, East Malvern. A vendor bid of $3 million. Reserve undisclosed.

5 Merriwee Crescent, Toorak. Nothing merry to report, even the vendor bid was $500,000 short of the vendor’s reserve.

168A Mont Albert Road, Canterbury. A large house on 26,000 sq ft ? now for sale “by negotiation”.

4-6 Goodall Street, Hawthorn. An expression-of-disinterest campaign which closed last week. No sold sticker in sight.

So. Much disappointment among vendors which did on occasion contrast with multiple (genuine!) bidders where real value was evident.

And now …

Grand Final weekend is a no-go zone. Nothing happens. So we won’t be reporting next week (in Bayside it all starts with school hols two weeks prior, so no report from there this week).

And then …

The trend is on to expressions of interest with agents trying to retain some control. Auctions are, more and more, like spending time in the ring with Ali and no-one looks forward to a blood nose.


Patience. Patience will reward you.


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