The signs? Yes. And no.

Morrell and Koren, the 1st buyer's advocatesIt’s a yes-and-no time.

Has the dust settled?

Yes. And no.

[pullquote]…homes you would really want…”[/pullquote]Yes, still not much choice. Yes, some in the wings (with homes you would really want) waiting to see the signs post-Easter.

Yes, some sales over $3.5 million over the past two weeks (and thank you, pass-ins and newly realistic vendors).

Yes, up to $1 million. Yes, but less so, $1-2 million. Yes, but hen’s teeth, up to $4 million.

Over $4 million? No. Only off-market. Only very quietly.

61 Kensington Avenue, South Yarra? On the market for over three years. Over $12 million. Agents with offers? We believe that’s a no.

Highest-profile top end agent jumps ship and goes to work for the enemy? No.

True that the only agents who have done really well this year have sold their media adventure to their enemy? Yes. Always part of their plan? Take a guess.

True that Mercedes and BMW dealers are no longer rushing to answer agents’ calls? Yes.

True that some high-net citizens are heading for no-net and their estates are in the hands of the banks? Yes.

True that the banks are in no hurry? Yes.

True that everything in real esate is now as clear as a bell?

That’s not a yes.

Long weekend next weekend. See you in two.

That’s a yes.

David Morrell

Bayside: Signs of life?

Last week we cautioned that there was a way to go before the market can be called healthy or even robust, but after this weekend the patient seems to be out of intensive care and showing signs of what might be a kind of recovery.

That’s providing you exclude anything over $4 million. Still in Emergency. Still flatlining even while the hopeful (agents) circle with the Packer Whackers.

This week we’ve been 1st-hand at a number of real sales with real buyers. That’s plural. Buyers. Something hardly seen since late-ish last year.

What’s changed?

Those who believe that economic principles rule markets (but rarely seem able to time those markets) may have an answer, but from here it looks more like, eventually, impatience rules. The emotional, psychological imperative to do something rather than nothing. If the decision has been made to upsize, downsize, seachange or treechange has continually been put on hold, hold, hold, then eventually there comes a tipping point.

Those with calculators may also have figured that the market’s descent is now likely to be at or near the bottom and while there may not be prospects of any hurried upswing, they still have to get on with their lives and maybe this is not a bad time to start.

And so the caravan starts to move and when that’s seen, confidence creeps back aboard and those who see only downside are left behind. Or the caravan makes a large circle and comes back to where it began or even further back down the track.

Time, the only truth-teller in these things, will let us know when she is ready.

Here endeth the rumination.

What’s been happening in the real world?

In Bayside, most action has been in the Brightons; with the Bentleighs playing a supporting role.

The Brightons

23 auctions scheduled, 16 sold.

Highest on the day wasn3 Tennyson Street. Contemporary. Views of the Bay from its upper level. 975 sq m. Started with a (real!) bid of $2.7 million, went with three bidders to $3.1 million and was then declared on the market. Subsequent bidding by two cheery bidders was either excruciating or theatrical – depends on who you ask – and it was eventually knocked down for a solid $3.27 million.

19 St Ninians Road is … unusual; at least for this dress-circle location. A conundrum. Land-only or too good to knock down? Cream brick on a compact 617 sq m. A hopeful $2.7 million opening bid was countered by the vendor’s $3 million. All over. Until. Until a sold sticker went up outside. What’s next? Looks like a renovation. How much? Nobody’s saying, but think of a number a little over $3 million.

734 Hawthorn Road, East Brighton. Local landmark. Two-storey brick of indeterminate vintage. Double-block of 1400 sq m. Sold for a healthy $2.22 million. Probably a record for this part of Hawthorn Road.

More quietly …

327 St Kilda Street (corner of Mulgoa). One of last year’s hangers-on. 1500 sq m. Substantial brick. Great potential (= money). Initially looking for early $4 millions. Even though the agent is keeping mum, we believe it eventually sold for closer to $3.8 million.

192 Church Street (up the hill). Substantial single-level Victorian. Originally listed at $4 million. Our belief: $3.6-3.8 million.

3 Park Street, corner of Webb. Built by Ron Clarke after he’d finished running world records and before he ran for Mayor of the Gold Coast (and now he’s running for QLD parliament, will he never learn?). 930 sq m – somewhat less than when Ron had it after the tennis court was excised and a small house was built there (and sold late last year for $2.05 million). Two parties expressed interest and it sold to one of them prior to the closing date for just shy of $3 million.

66 North Road. First listed well over a year ago at $2.5 million + and third-agent lucky sold for, we believe, rather closer to $2 million plus change.

And then …

One of the better sales in Bayside so far this year: the off-market sale by negotiation of a largely unrenovated 1930’s house on over 2000 sq m of Victoria Street’s highly-desired sq m. Local goss is $3.4 million. Not a whisper from the agent.


A weekend’s mini-break before the push up to Easter.

Will buyer interest be maintained? Will it ever stop raining?

Back with an update the week after next.

Damian Taylor

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