Spring is here, the grass is riz …

… we wonder where the dummies is (see below).

Lots of promised activity and lots of doors suddenly opening for inspection. Much agent effort going into getting the spring buzz back but, post-football, it’s not really on again for another couple of weeks.

Yes, there has been some private sale activity, and there’s now much more on offer, but at the top end there’s still not a lot you’d want to move into.

Issues? Same old, same old:

  • prices – vendors who need to come back to earth, down where the market is
  • quality – it’s not there for many of the asked prices, they’re just not AAA – 95% of those we saw over the weekend didn’t have what it takes

And then came the dollar. And it came and came and came. And while it came, some buyers went. There’s one $10 million + property we have been negotiating since the dollar was at 81¢. Now the AUD is nudging parity with the US$, that transaction has become unworkable. As expat and overseas (mostly Asian) interest wanes, you may see some further softening in the top end market. A volatile currency is nobody’s friend – unless you’re a trader.

And along with the flowers that bloom in the Spring comes a new crop of dummy bidders. Why are they blossoming? To quote one agent: “They’re doing it, so I must.” And another: “Tell me, who has been caught?” Well, we know of one, because we pinged him. We have issued a formal complaint to the Minister and Consumer Affairs Victoria. There’s an election coming on – so they might want to be seen to be doing something.

And, in the meantime, if you are bidding, make sure you’re up against someone who is genuinely interested in the property and not a stooge who is only there to raid your pocket – sometimes to the tune of six figures. Need clues? Go here.

The market is as varied as the wind in Spring. October 23 will be big – big enough to tell which way the wind is really blowing.


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Bayside waits, ‘bates breath

The first two weekends of the Spring market have barely whetted buyers’ apetitites for the main courses due on the 23rd and 24th of this month – average attendances and thinning bidders resulted in overall clearance rates dipping to 68% across Melbourne and to an even more modest 61% in Bayside.

Unless a property is an absolute standout, buyers are proceeding with care, only coming to the party when a property is priced realistically and meets their exact criteria.

Yet even months after market sentiment changed, too many sellers’ expectations are still above the market; frustrating buyers who want to transact but at current value levels, not at those of the peak back in March.

Some of the more significant Black Rock results over the past week:

Overall a busy day in this relatively small beachside locale.

The highlight in Hampton was the auction of a period timber house on 976 sq m at the beach end of Linacre Road. Number 6 was knocked down at a respectable $2.35 million – with 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, glamour pool and some Bay views, nothing less than expected.

Bentleigh performed with its usual aplomb even though several pass-ins were recorded and it is obvious that the number of privately sold properties is starting to creep up.

The highest sale for the week was private: 3-5 Buckingham Avenue. A contemporary near-new house on a generous allotment of 1175 sq m, it sold for $1.675 million.

Brighton was ho hum: a clearance rate under 50 % as a result of some fairly uninspiring offerings.

However a spirited auction took place at 45 Orchard Street for a little 1930’s brick bungalow on 501 sq m. The initial quote of $1.18-1.3 million guaranteed lots of interest and at least four bidders quickly bid up to $1.4 million before it was knocked down a mere 5 minutes later. It paid to be on time.

Number 10 Campbell Street finally been sold many weeks post-auction for $3.9 million and 34 Foote Street sold privately for $2.06 million after being quoted at $2.1-2.2 million.

A significant off-market sale has been negotiated at 9 Black Street, Brighton. A substantial single-level Victorian on 1100 sq m, its price is believed to be around $4.25 million.

The very pointy end of the market will again be tested with the official listing of a beachfront property at 1 Bay Street. An old Brighton mansion on 2200 sq m with a permit for 7 apartments, if it reaches its anticipated ticket of $15 million plus, it will take the record as Brighton’s highest price paid.


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