This morning’s ‘Age’ reports the sale of 25 Turnbull Avenue, Toorak (at $2,650,000) as the weekend’s top transaction. No fault of the paper’s – they can only report what the agents report to them – but we can assure you that we were bidding at auctions where properties sold for a great deal more.

In addition, over the last week there have been five significant off-market transactions from Brighton to Toorak (how do we know? We bought three of them). They reinforce our view that there is still strength at the top end and, noticeably, the demand for quality properties in the school belt is still largely unmet.

Our expectation is that purchases such as these will cascade and result in other quality homes coming onto the market.

Then why won’t you read about it?

If there are lies, damn lies and statistics, the impressions conveyed by real estate statistics can be particularly wide of reality. Part of the problem with what’s published is that many sales are not reported or properties are passed in and sold later, so published auction results and clearance rates can often be misleading; but the greatest failing is that they can’t tell you what buyers are thinking. For that you have to get out to where the sales are made, see what’s happening and talk to those who are creating the markets: the vendors, the agents, the buyers and the would-be buyers.

In fact, you have to do our day job.

What we can report first-hand is that of the eight auctions we attended over the weekend, six had 2-3 genuine bidders, five sold and three passed in. It’s not exactly the Armageddon some predicted.

Next weekend could have been a stress test for the auction market, but while there’s still relatively little quality to be found at the top end we are advising clients to be patient. Repenting at leisure is more than a little painful when you realise you are living in the wrong house.

Will the Olympics have an effect? Some. Because for some there’s always a reason to defer a decision.



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Bayside’s pulse flickers ?

Rare signs of life were observed in Bayside this week. Brighton led the way with Hampton not far behind.

Auction clearances were up substantially on previous weeks and several private sales at the top end boosted the area’s overall performance. Audible sighs of relief were heard from a number of agents who have had little to smile about for most of this year.

However, one swallow does not a Spring make. The jury is still well and truly out on where this market is heading.

Three bidders contested 67 Dendy Street, Brighton and a final bid (ours) of $1,417,500 won the property. A straightforward and not unexpected result.

Not so at 64 Elwood Street, Brighton. Initially for sale at around $2.1 million, an offer of $1.92 million was rejected six months ago, as was another offer of $1.82 million a month later. A new agent was appointed and sold the property under the hammer on Saturday for ? $1.54 million. Close to $400,000 less than February’s offer.

Word of the day? Ouch.

At the best-attended auction a new spec house at 75 Roslyn Street, Brighton was passed in on a vendor bid of $2.4 million. It sold shortly after for a respectable $2.58 million.

An extensively rebuilt and extended house at 7 Park Street, Brighton was the standout: an overseas buyer paid the asking price of $4. 4 million; apparently sight-unseen. Certainly a leap of faith that must have cheered the vendor’s heart.

A cone of silence has descended over the sale price of 18 Norwood Avenue, Brighton. Estimates as low as $5.2 million have been suggested (by opposition agents? perish the thought). That’s a far cry from a “verbally agreed but never in writing” sale at more than $6.5 million around six months ago. A sale price in the vicinity of $6 million is probably closer to the mark.

In Brighton East, a newly renovated and extended family home at 32 Canberra Grove has been sold several weeks after auction for $1,705,000.

Hampton’s good week included a spec house at 65 Linacre Road with a multi-car basement garage which sold privately for $2.275 million, 53 Crisp Street which sold for $1.67 million after being passed in last weekend on a vendor bid of $1.65 million and 23 Imbros Street, a fully worked-over period timber house which sold at auction for $1.475 million.

And let us not forget Bentleigh. Bentleigh, Bayside’s most consistent performer all year. The weekend saw eleven auctions, eight of which sold. That in addition to a half dozen or so private sales made during the week.

As anticipated, over the past week or two reports have been coming in that most local agencies have been in listing mode. Expanded auction and private sale lists will inevitably follow.

Your Bayside observer



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