Wind back the clocks. It’s 2010.
Things are moving. Agents are forming disorderly queues outside the dealerships of German automobiles. The town’s tailors are eyeing bolts of deep blue.
Cause? Not chaos politics, not stock market cheer, definitely not the weather.
Our suspicion is that after two months of little to do but ponder, both buyers and sellers decided it was time to move; each in the direction of the other.
50 Armadale Street, Armadale was on the market at $1.7 million and sold for $2.05 million. Four people were bidding.
Two others in Armadale sold in the mid-2s.
That said, the thin air at the top end still makes trend prediction a risky business.
And the exception will always show up – as it did when 120 Powlett Street, East Melbourne, fell (not unexpectedly) for the charms of Gary Morgan’s $5,155,000.
20% over reserve. Leaving four under-bidders who now, presumably, each have $4 million or more to assist in their searches elsewhere.
Where they should look at the mid to top end is becoming more and more clouded. Auctions are entering the history books, expressions of interest* refuse to die (even though buyers should be turning off life support) while the secret world of off-off-market quietly ticks over.
All of which is making buying property a little harder. Before anything else, you have to know what’s there. Then the price you should offer. Then whether you should move fast or wait it out (which means knowing whether there is opposition and how high they are prepared to go).
The less-than-prepared may as well write larger cheques to their charities. Those who risk falling to the wiles of too-well-prepared agents would do well to ask around before doing so. Many agents are open, honest, and rewarding to deal with – those who are less so are better avoided no matter what they promise.
And still the wallflowers wait in hope. Around two thirds of the property for sale in Toorak has been waiting since last year. In some, price is still the problem, in others there are issues which may be overcome by deep discounting.
* Deadlines for the year’s first round of expressions of interest are this week. It will be interesting to see whether the weekend’s auction impetus further down the ladder will be felt higher up.
Bayside. Off. Running.
Last year? The starting gun fired, the runners were off and disappeared around the bend. Some are still struggling home.
This year? Again the gun fires, again they’re storming out of the blocks and again the agents are cheering. Whether this field will race on or re-play last year’s straggle of the bewildered is yet to be seen. That’s what pre-Easter is made for.
But the weekend!
The Brightons sped away with 33 auctions listed (less six that didn’t make it to the start, having been bought before – clever buyers? – nervous sellers?) and of the 27 that remained, 25 sold under the hammer or soon after.
88%. Sold. It’s been a long time.
It will be tested again next week. Our suspicion is that 88% is a bridge too far, but a solid result is likely. So far, the market is up and has more energy – both buyers and sellers are eager to deal. Sellers are more realistic in their price expectations while buyers in general have reached the view that prices bottomed in the third quarter of 2012 and now is the moment to step in.
So how far can you rely on the reports?
Some properties which sold last year are now being reported as pre-auction sales for the weekend just passed. 64 Well Street (mid November, 2012) at $3.2 million, 36 Were Street (mid December, 2012) at $2,025,000, 84 Halifax Street (mid December, 2012) for $1,625,000.
The most expensive sale reported was, not surprisingly, a private sale. 44 Hanby Street, a generously proportioned house on 1115 sq m. It sold for $3,490,000.
Although unreported, we have heard that 47 Bay Street has also changed hands. A rambling period house with heritage overlays, it sits on one of the largest allotments in Brighton, approximately 3,000 sq m. Overlays have saved it from the developers but at the expense of some of the potential price. Word suggests it sold for around $5 million.
20 Grosvenor Street was a flat performance all around and was summarily passed in on a solitary vendor bid of $2.75 million. A normally upbeat auctioneer must have found a second wind and later squeezed a post auction sale at a tickle over $3 million.
A pair of land sales in Asling Street at the old Gardenvale end of Brighton were … surprising.
100 Asling Street was the former home of the Brighton CID and there were faces in the crowd that seemed to know this property very well. Despite the Gardenvale train station looming over the back fence, a healthy $1,660,000 was achieved for the 711 sq m allotment; although not having to pay the normal stamp duty of $90,000 odd, would have helped.
An even stronger result occurred next door at 98 Asling Street. Although smaller, about 550 sq m, it sold for $1,365,000 or the equivalent of just under $2500/sq m.
48 Outer Crescent produced three bidders before being passed in at $1.4 million and a sold sticker appeared a little later at just over that number.
Brighton East or East Brighton (that depends on whether you’re a buyer or seller, according to a prominent local gaveller) came out of the shadows with some stellar results and none less so than 50 Comer Street where a resort style timber house with tennis court, pool and a golf course outlook had five bidders going head to head. Eventually declared on the market at $2.6 million, at least three buyers were spurred to greater heights, partly no doubt on the promise of the auctioneer to do a Leaping Larry into the pool if they kept bidding. And bid they did until it was knocked down at $2,715,000 accompanied by a generous round of applause.
Divested of mobile phone, speaker mike and therefore truly naked, true to his word the auctioneer, fully clothed, did the big bomb and this time to thunderous applause. Must have been his last for the day.
Overheard from the departing crowd: “I don’t know what he was on, but the Oz swim team could use some of it.”
Meanwhile at 14 Hodder Street, a near new single level home with the lot was offered. Part of its attraction was a serious 25 metre lap pool and although three parties competed until the knock down at $1.66 million, no-one got wet.
Elsewhere in Bayside, results were not dissimilar although on much smaller turnover with The Bentleighs starting the year with an almost 80% clearance.
What’s also remarkable? This has been the first real weekend of sales and auction results for the year and – allowing for the Labour Day long weekend and Easter – there are only three auction weekends remaining until the year is one quarter over.
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