September 10. It’s hot (and thin) at the top.

All the action at the top end was in Hopetoun Road, Toorak. Again, there was real evidence of just how quickly the market has moved. 2 Hopetoun Road, a good home on 15,000 sq ft with a court and pool, was sold prior to auction for $9,750,000 or $650.00 per foot – it sold 18 months ago for $6,660,000. There was another off-market transaction in the street at $6.5 million on 9,000 sq ft; which represents $722.00 per ft. This property was bought under two years ago for $4.6 million and the vendors didn?t even add a coat of paint.

It is now painfully obvious that the lack of choice in Toorak and other top-end suburbs is pushing prices inexorably north. Here we are in the Spring market, when choice is traditionally at its greatest, and you only have to glance at the classifieds to see that there is very little available. But that doesn’t mean anything and everything will sell: 4 Linlithgow Road (the unluckiest street in Toorak?) on 20,000 square feet of land failed to attract a single bid.

Elsewhere, lack of choice led to the strange. Was the weirdest of the year the auction of 18 Derby Street, Armadale? The property sold for $1.82 million against a $1.7 million reserve. The two bidders were bridesmaids at different auctions of houses in Malvern an hour beforehand. Both missed out and then, apparently on the spur of the moment, revised their dream of home and went to war over a townhouse. It’s a sure sign that there is panic in the marketplace. Lack of choice will do that.

Even two lemons that were passed in without bids in Armadale last weekend now have sold signs outside.

Over the last week or two, measured by enquiries we have been receiving, there has been growing demand in Hawthorn and Kew. If they are not already, these areas on their way to being among the most sought-after in Melbourne.

Strong competition is also evident in the unit market with investors returning to the fold. A two-bedroom unit in Lisson Grove Hawthorn sold for $565,000 with six bidders, four of whom were investors. 12 months ago we purchased an identical unit in the same building for $380,000.

Will it get any easier? With the school holidays only a week away there will be limited opportunities over the next 4-5 weeks. While the agents are praying for a rush of vendors listing for sales in October, what we’re hearing is that their prayers may go unheard. Quality properties look like being thin on the ground with, again, vendors reluctant to commit to selling.

* NB Links are to agents? and search websites – they may be taken down after properties are sold.

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