1 December 2018

Saturday was the last of the ‘big volume’ auction weekends, as the 2018 property market winds up for Christmas. While the general clearance rate was under 50% again (for the reported properties), we thought we would focus on some stats, as there were some standout suburbs with solid results.

Suburb winners

  • Middle Park – 4 reported results       75%    
  • Hampton – 4 reported results            75%
  • Sandringham – 4 reported results     75%
  • Brighton – 8 reported results             62%
  • Balwyn – 3 reported results               100%
  • Camberwell – 7 reported results        71%
  • Glen Iris – 9 reported results              67%
  • Malvern East – 10 reported results    60%

Malvern East has also seen a number of unreported off-market results over the past few weeks.

Suburb strugglers

  • Port Melbourne – 8 reported results    12.5%
  • Brighton East – 5 reported results        20%
  • Armadale – 4 reported results              no sale
  • Ashburton – 4 reported results             no sale

While a week in real estate doesn’t say much, we think the results demonstrate that buyers are prepared to compete for the properties where there is a combination of good-quality, right-priced stock and vendors with realistic expectations.  

We also thought it was worth considering the positives associated with the current market and bank changes, particularly if the property meets most of the key requirements you have been searching for:

  • It’s a great time to upgrade as the gap is closer (ie 5% drop on a lower-priced home is less than a 5% drop on a more expensive one, reducing the extra money to upgrade).
  • Competition is more tempered, so there’s a greater chance of success if you are prepared.
  • As loans revert from interest only to principal and interest, there are a number of investment properties in blue-chip areas coming onto the market that may otherwise have been held indefinitely.
  • Current and future vendors are now aware of the market we are in and more comfortable to sell for market value.
  • Thinking outside the box a little and being prepared to do some work, such as buying a ‘B’ grader that can become an ‘A’ grader.  With the right advice, this can be a great way to secure your next family home and  certainly some of our clients will be enjoying their new homes for Christmas.

With only a couple more weekends before Christmas, most agents will now be focusing on trying to sell existing stock before taking time off for the summer holidays and get ready for a new auction year, which tends to commence after Australia Day.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support this year and wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe New Year.  We look forward to resuming our reports once the auctions return in February.



Hawthorn/Hawthorn East also had a good weekend of results selling 6 from 8 reported properties. Four of the bigger sales below:

  • 53 Leura Grove Hawthorn East (Stuart Evans/Duane Wolowiec – a modern family home with pool on smaller (approx. 596sqm) land – $3,920,000
  • 46 Leura Grove Hawthorn East (Tim Picken/Rebecca Edward, Kay & Burton) – approx. 915sqm with a single storey renovated home sold well; the power of a good architect/interior designer working with an old home and a south facing rear – $4,150,000
  • 31 Berkeley Street Hawthorn (Karen Chung/Caroline Hammill, Woodards) – well-presented 1930s home on approx. 700sqm, live in, renovate/extend, or perhaps even replace (stca) on Scotch Hill – $3,460,000
  • 52 Mary Street Hawthorn (Richard Winneke/Cambell Ward, JellisCraig), renovated period home in Grace Park Estate – undisclosed over $6,000,000


Auction Spotlight

11 Wheatland Road Malvern

A good-sized crowd greeted Ian Carmichael from Jellis Craig at the auction of 11 Wheatland Rd Malvern, although bids were tough going.

The home at 11 Wheatland Rd Malvern offers a combination of Federation features at the front, combined with a light and modern extension to the north rear. Off-street parking for one car at the front, with a second one, perhaps a little tight, in the rear carport. The home would suit downsizers or smaller/younger families.

Ian Carmichael opened proceedings with a vender bid of $3.8m before receiving a genuine bid of $3.82m. The crowd was given some thinking time with a break, but further silence from the 50 or so people in the crowd greeted him after. Ian placed a second vendor bid of $3.9m before receiving another bid of $3.91m from the only bidder to secure negotiation rights. The property was passed in on the street, but sold shortly after for $4.01m.

4 Montrose Avenue Brighton

Peter Kennett and Tamara Penno from Hocking Stuart successfully auctioned the pretty Edwardian at 4 Montrose Avenue Brighton.

Situated opposite the well-regarded Elsternwick Primary School and an easy walk to the Martin Street shops and cafes, this home was always going to appeal to young families. Although a south rear, a good-sized decked area wrapped around for north-east light access. The home has been renovated, with a spacious family bathroom serving the three bedrooms, on approximately 381sqm of land.

Peter Kennett and Tamara Penno from Hocking Stuart had run the busy campaign and headed up the auction. A bid of $1.68m started the auction, swiftly followed by another young family, trading bids to take the property to $1.82m and onto the market. A third bidder entered the action, before bidder two stepped out.  Both couples were clearly keen to get the keys, trying to stretch as much as possible.  Bidder three was eventually successful, securing the home for $2.0m.

17 November 2018

It was another mixed round of results on the weekend.   Vendors with sold stickers were likely to be feeling relief after the clearance rate statistics (47%) were posted on Saturday evening.

More than ever, buyers need to be aware that an auction has three parts to it: pre-auction, at auction and post-auction. A property can be bought in any of these timeframes. At the moment, of the properties that are being bought, it feels like they are falling equally into these sections. When the market was at its highest a few years back, this breakdown was more like about 15% pre-auction, 70% at auction and 15% post-auction. Why is this?   We think predominantly because there are less ‘eligible’ buyers right now, mainly due to recent APRA loan crackdowns and money becoming less available. The media has also done its share of scare-mongering and buyers are more wary now and uncertain as to acceptable buyer behaviour.

Scarcity is still providing solid results for quality, well located properties, although offerings were pretty slim on the weekend, particularly in Stonnington.

For buyers, there are some good opportunities to buy if the offering meets your needs.  While media reports of doom and gloom are influencing buyers, many of whom are missing out on buying suitable homes because they think they should wait, there are opportunities available that we haven’t seen before.

Interestingly, we have been involved in a number of transactions this year where vendors are selling their investment properties, often to reduce their land tax commitments.  As property valuations have increased, so have the taxes payable.  This has opened up a number of opportunities for buyers to purchase homes that have been otherwise tightly held.   For a number of these vendors, the properties have seen large gains over many decades and they’re more prepared to sell in the current market at the market price.

For buyers, opportunities are opening up in areas where they may have been outpriced 12 months ago, such as Albert Park, South Yarra and Hawthorn, where many smaller homes are now available at slightly lower prices.  The trade-off for the position and opportunity is that many of the homes have seen little change since purchase, therefore buyers will need to be prepared to undertake renovations, some extensive and costly.   Due diligence regarding overlays, setbacks, costs etc.  is very important to ensure you buy a home that can be what you want it to be.

The plus, if you’re prepared to do the work (perhaps over time), is the ability to buy in some of Melbourne’s premium suburbs, where last year buyers may have been outpriced.


Auction Highlights: 

22 Sussex Street Brighton – Stefan Whiting / Gary Yue, Buxton.  Large, yet original home on 970sqm, located between Church Street shops/station and the beach sold for $5m or $5,154sqm.

19 Sunnyside Avenue Camberwell Michael Hingston/Chris Hingston, Jellis Craig.  Fairly original brick Californian Bungalow, 900m2 approx. north rear, blue-chip Camberwell property. Sold for $3.46m. 

159 Prospect Hill Road Canterbury Doug McLauchlan/Stephen Gough, Marshall White.  Well built and designed 20-year-old single-level three-bedroom townhouse, perfect for a downsizer. Sold for $2.520m.


Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 1 December; an architect’s view  

20 Ryeburne Avenue Hawthorn East James Tostevin/Michael Wood, Marshall White

11 Wheatland Road Malvern Iain Carmichael/Tim Bennison, Jellis Craig

23 Albert Street Brighton Kate Strickland / Andrew Campbell, Marshall White

14b Dunraven Avenue Toorak Robyn Feigen / Robert Fletcher, Kay & Burton


Auction Spotlight:

4 Leopold Street Glen Iris

One of the few properties that sold under the hammer on the weekend – auctioneer John Morrisby from Jellis Craig at 4 Leopold St Glen Iris.


Plenty of activity in this street, with three properties currently on the market.

We were at the auction of No. 4 – a modern semi-detached townhouse that appeals to a wide buyer group and has been tastefully designed and built.  Smart to have a master bedroom suite upstairs and downstairs so that stairs are somewhat eliminated. Such a consideration would not have been taken in to account 10 to 20 years ago.

In front of around 40 people, auctioneer John Morrisby opened with a vendor bid of $1.850m and it didn’t take too long for this to be advanced by a young couple.

Enter bidder 2 (another young couple) not long after and the auction wasunderway. Original bidder looked weak and pulled out, then entered bidder 3 (probably the parent of bidder 1) to do the heavy lifting. Not an uncommon strategy these days. The property was announced on the market at $1.970m and sold not long after for $2.009m to the original bidder.

Quick-fire auction, all over in about five minutes. As a point of interest, the original full block last sold in 2000 for $450K.


8 Talbot Street Hampton

Jack Johnstone from Marshall White works the crowd for bids at 8 Talbot St Hampton, while some entrepreneurial children next door made the most of the crowd at their lemonade & cake stand.


It was the perfect spring day for an auction in this well positioned part of Hampton.  On offer was a period home extended some time ago, on a well sized 860sqm block. The home sits within a neighbourhood zone without a heritage overlay. Sold only 18 months ago for $2.926m under spirited competition for well over its then reserve, the current market was going to be a test for such a swift turnaround.  Jack Johnstone headed up the Marshall White team, asking for $2.65m opening offers.  A cheeky $2.2m was instead called out and reluctantly accepted.  Another family entered proceedings with a $2.3m counteroffer.  When the first bidder tried to reduce bids to $20k at this point, Jack rejected the offer, instead placing a vendor bid of $2.65m to move towards the quoted range.  Bidder two offered $2.67m, at which pointed activity stalled, a discussion with the vendors followed, but no further bids could be extracted.  While the family went inside for post-auction negotiations, it seems agreement could not be reached and the home remains on the market at time of writing, with an advertised price of $2.95m.


27 October 2018

Jeremy Fox from RT Edgar looks for bidders at 17 Struan St Toorak and finds two. The property passed in for $3.56m and sold after for an undisclosed amount.


We believe the weekend results confirm our previous reports that Melbourne is running a two-tiered market.

The well positioned, correctly priced and increasingly scarce properties are attracting good competition and some strong results (particularly if the property suits the downsizer market), while the remaining homes, those needing work, with not-quite-right floorplans, poor orientation, and/or location issues, struggle to attract any interest, particularly if the vendors have high expectations.

The downsizer market (who, in general, are not as reliant on finance for their purchase) continues to grow and strengthen as more buyers enter the market searching for single-storey homes in the quiet streets close to amenities.  Examples on the weekend could be seen at 5 Edward Street Armadale – six bidders, on the market at $1.42m, selling for $1.82m and 8 Gordon Crescent Black Rock – four bidders, on the market at $2.475m, selling for $2.63m.

While quite different in their offering, it was their similarities, which are constantly in demand and short supply, that saw 10 bidders between them where other homes saw none.  Both sold well above their respective reserves, which is perhaps the other key to their successful sale – the vendors of both properties had realistic price expectations.

The weekend saw 20 reported homes sell over $3 million, of which over half were in the Stonnington Council.  The top end of the market is still travelling well, with many buyers again not as reliant on finance.  The bigger issue is finding the stock.




  • 248 Richardson Street Middle Park (Simon Gowling/Warwick Gardiner, Greg Hocking Holdsworth) – again, a single-storey home in a quality street, comfortable but could also be further updated, even with no off-street parking, sold for an undisclosed amount comfortably over $3.5m.
  • 7 Kingston Street Malvern East (John Morrisby/Matthew Coombs, Jellis Craig) – approx. 941sqm opposite Central Park with an Edwardian looking for its next renovation (STCA in a heritage precinct) sold well, with scarcity again in play. On the  market at $4.525m, sold well above reserve for $4.825m.
  • 9-11 Ashley Grove Malvern (Richard Mackinnon/Fraser Cahill, Marshall White) – approx. 1651sqm in the growth zone (GRZ10), sold $7.1m or $4,300sqm.
  • 4 Moule Avenue Brighton (Nick Johnstone/Joe Doyle, Nick Johnstone Real Estate) – approx. 827sqm with a French Provincial style large family home in the Golden Mile, $6.1m.
  • 6 Joyce Street Elwood (Torsten Kasper/Carolyn Clarke, Chisholm & Gamon) – a modern, well located townhouse, $3,215,000.



Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 10 November; an architect’s view 

48 Melville Street Hawthorn  Geordie Dixon/George Bushby, Jellis Craig

57 Mary Street St Kilda West  Adrian Wood/Michael Paproth, The Agency

41 Bamfield Street Sandringham  Richard Slade/Peter Hickey, Buxton

18 Lalbert Crescent Prahran  Darren Lewenberg/Grant Samuel, Kay & Burton


‘Off-market’ Properties:

  • Art Deco renovation opportunity with north rear, Clifton Hill – circa high $2m
  • Converted church hall, large family home, St Kilda West – circa early $7m
  • Family-sized Californian Bungalow, Malvern East – circa early $2m
  • Fully renovated Californian Bungalow, Malvern East – circa mid $3m
  • Edwardian high on the Hill on 890sqm, Sandringham – circa $3m
  • Fully renovated family home on 1,045sqm, Hawthorn – circa high $5m
  • Within 1800s shell, 2 bed, 3 bath, 3 Garage, Port Melbourne – circa $2m


Auction Spotlight:

 5 Edward Street Armadale

Rob Vickers-Willis take the reins for this auction and brings home the property in a canter.


Even in this market, this auction was going to fire and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Why? Scarcity. And something this market really wants and needs: single level. Good car garaging. No body corporate. Light-and-bright and cleverly architect-designed – well done again Nicholas Day. A healthy crowd gathered (most were here to buy) and there was a real buzz. Bidding started off with a low-ball $1.2m offering – which I thought was a bit silly really, if your goal is to try and buy the home. It didn’t take too long for this auction to take off and the property was announced on the market at $1.42m then sold for $1.82m. Six bidders put their hands up here, but there could have been more had they had a chance to bid. Auction was all over in about five minutes, and I overheard someone use the word ‘crazy’ with respect, but I didn’t think it was really. Good properties in the hands of good agents with realistic vendors tend to always sell – and sell well.


7 Kingston Street Malvern East

A healthy crowd enjoyed the sun and the auction fronting on to Malvern East’s iconic Central Park.


On offer here was a solid, original home with healthy bones and excellent potential. Car access via the southern side of the house was generous and there was good opportunity for prized northwest light in the backyard. The renovation could be relatively straightforward and it will be interesting to watch the progress of this property in the coming months/years as it transforms.  But the X factor was the location – there are not too many properties which front on to Central Park, but this one did. Auctioneer John Morrisby gave a spirited preamble, and officially kicked the auction off on a vendor bid of $4.15m. Not long after, this was advanced by two bidders in a steady pace of to-and-fro bidding. The property was announced on the market at $4.25m and then sold under the hammer for $4.825m not long after. Well done to the buyer – they have done well.



13 October 2018

Bigger numbers inspecting and attending auctions with the arrival of spring, but buyers have firmer limits and are more cautious to bid.


The Spring market has now well and truly kicked off.  Whether it is the improved weather, or the opportunity to view some new offerings, we’ve seen an increase in the number of buyers inspecting homes.

Those buyers without homes are coming to the realisation that Christmas is nearly upon us, with a limited number of auction weekends before the market closes up until after Australia Day.  Take the Cup and Election weekends out of the mix and we are looking at only eight more good auction Saturdays, two of which already have campaigns underway.

Certainly, the better homes that are marketed and quoted accurately are seeing competition, albeit more tentatively off the mark.   Buyers definitely seem to have more firm limits, however. Unlike  2016-17, where auctions started strongly and buyers slowly kept edging over their limits when bidding, we are seeing far more cautious initial bids that become stronger as a second and sometimes third bidder become involved, particularly if the home is announced ‘on the market’.

We are also seeing some homes defying the market trend.  Homes combining scarcity with position are still performing above and beyond any previous market results.  We inspected a very good home in Armadale, in a premium location, which was ‘opened’ for the first time last week and bought at the asking price by the first person through.

We think it is important in any market to buy a good property first.  It is easy to get caught in the trap of a down market by buying something just because it is cheap, even if it isn’t quite right.  The good homes become less available in a down market, particularly if vendors don’t have to sell.  With fewer homes to compete with, the really good ones can still outperform.  One of the hardest things is knowing what makes a home really good and then finding one that is actually really for sale.


  • 12 Weatherly Grove Brighton (Gary Yue/Halli Moore, Buxton) – approx. 760sqm land 16.76m frontage, south rear – undisclosed but circa $3m or over $3,800sqm
  • 6 Bruce Street Toorak (Mark Wridgway/James Paull, RT Edgar) – approx. 865sqm land with approved plans/permits for apartments, south rear, busier street but well located – undisclosed between $6.25-6.5m or  well over $7,000sqm
  • 9 May Road Toorak (James McCormack/Dean Gilbert, Marshall White) – well located single fronted period home on appox. 300sqm, north rear, ready for the next update – undisclosed just under $2m


Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 20 October; an architect’s view

20 Edro Avenue Brighton East – Peter Kennett, Chelsea Cargill, Hocking Stuart

75 Barkly Avenue Armadale – Lachie Fraser-Smith, Will Bennison, Jellis Craig

22 Thanet Street Malvern – Tom McCarthy, Biggin & Scott

15 Derby Street Camberwell – Ross Stryker / Nick O’Halloran, Jellis Craig 


‘Off-market’ Properties: 

  • Fully renovated family home on 1,020sqm, Malvern East – circa early $4m
  • Double fronted Edwardian w scope to improve, Camberwell – circa $2.3m
  • Renovated two storey Edwardian, DLUG, Armadale – circa early $3m
  • Development site w NOD for plans, Kew – over $4m
  • Edwardian in need of renovation on 650sqm, Glen Iris – circa $2.65m
  • Two storey family home with good sized garden, pool, Malvern East – circa $3m
  • 4 bed Edwardian with open plan rear, Malvern East – circa $2.6m
  • 4-5 bed family home with period features, Canterbury – circa $2.6m
  • Renovated 3 bedroom Edwardian, close to amenities, Kew – circa high $1m
  • Large Edwardian on 920sqm with indoor pool, DLUG, Alphington – over $3m
  • Modern family home on 1,114sqm, walk to Church St, Brighton – circa $6m


Auction Spotlight:

19 Collingwood St Sandringham

19 Collingwood St Sandringham – one of the few homes that we saw sell under the hammer on the weekend.

19 Collingwood Street (quoted $1.6-1.76m) offered a comfortable period home on a very good piece of land.  Relatively flat with no easements, we thought the land was the valuable component of the property, located in a quiet street and well located to the shops, station and beach.  The home was functional enough and had been updated along the way, making it quite liveable; however, the position on the block and orientation to the south ensured the living rooms received limited natural light for most of the day.  Simone Chin from Nick Johnstone Real Estate called the auction. When no opening bids were forthcoming, she commenced with a vendor bid of $1.75m. Looking like another pass-in was imminent, finally a genuine bidder emerged offering $10,000.  With that, a second bidder also joined the game.  Extracting bids was slow until the property was announced on the market at $1.83m, with the final result settling at $1.845m.


60 Ruskin Street Elwood

Sam Inan from Hocking Stuart had a crowd of over 60 people along both sides of the street to work with at the auction of 60 Ruskin St Elwood.

The home on offer at 60 Ruskin St Elwood (quoted $2.1-2.3m) hides its modern and stylish renovation behind an understated Edwardian façade. It delivers good family accommodation with two living zones and a huge central bathroom. Although the south one of the pair, excellent light is achieved internally through skylights and a glass rear wall up to the cathedral ceiling.  While plenty of locals came to see the action just to see how the market was going in their area, a number of serious looking buyers were in the crowd.  Standard bidding shyness caused the usual silence once bids were called for and Sam Inan from Hocking Stuart was forced to place a vendor bid of $2.1m.  Further inaction made Sam go inside to give everyone some thinking time. Just when it looked like passing in, a surprise bid of $2.165m was placed by a young couple, followed by another couple counteroffering a further $10k. Bidder one replied equally before bidder two made a slightly larger jump to settle on $2.2m where the home was eventually passed in. Discussions continued inside and the property was sold shortly after for an undisclosed price a little higher.

8 September 2018

Antony Woodley from Marshall White looking for bidders at the auction of 82 Guildford Rd Surrey Hills. The property passed in for $2.92m and remains for sale at time of writing for $3.05m.


As we head into Spring, we expect to see the better (or conveniently located) homes well contested. With the warmer weather, we saw increased numbers attending auctions and some very well attended inspections.  If you don’t have an ‘A’ grader, these numbers should provide confidence that buyers are around if the property is priced correctly.

The biggest change we have seen this year is the faltering of the auction process, partially brought about by external influences (royal commission, reduced access to money etc) but also by overly optimistic vendors who started to believe their properties should always see higher results than the previous sales.

We believe in five-year flexibility.  For most homes bought five years ago (As, Bs and even some C graders), there has been good growth.  Maybe if you had sold 12 months ago, it would have been slightly higher, but, in general, the majority of homes (perhaps excluding new apartments) are worth more than they were five years ago.

As a seller auctioning your home, if you’re willing to meet the market, you should take comfort that the auction process still provides a clear process, set timeframe and transparency for buyers.   However, the changing market has brought about an increase in private sales, expressions of interest and stale properties.

As a buyer, this can also be a good way to buy, particularly if you have a thorough understanding of what you need and the market you’re buying in.   However, it also results in reduced transparency as each agent will have their own way of managing things (ie their own set of rules depending on the property, other buyers, similar products and vendor expectations).

You can also waste a lot of time trying to buy a home that may not really be for sale and miss other genuine opportunities.

Here’s how you can improve your chances of buying one of these homes:

  • Have a good relationship with the agent (although maybe not too good; you might wind up paying $100,000 more than you have to – the agents are getting paid by the vendors no matter how friendly they are).
  • Get a clear understanding of the process before you start talking dollars.
  • Ensure the property is really for sale.
  • Engage the services of an experienced buyer advocate.

For sellers who bought a ‘B or C’ grader more recently and need to sell now, the opportunity to make some money and/or recoup costs may not be there.  As an example, 392 St Kilda St Brighton sold privately last week after passing in on 1 September.  It was last sold in February (only seven months ago) for $3.09m and just sold again for $2.95m.


  • 37 Hampden Road Armadale (Warwick Anderson/Holly Gillham, RT Edgar) – approx. 1400sqm, single storey, renovated period home selling for an undisclosed amount before auction – circa $8m
  • 10 Queens Square Sandringham (Robin Parker/Kate Fowler, Marshall White) – approx. 650sqm well located property with pretty period façade, although ready for the next renovation to bring it back to life – 4 bidders and $2,152,000
  • 7 Devorgilla Avenue Toorak (Michael Gibson/Robert Fletcher, Kay & Burton) – approx. 457sqm, with low maintenance modern home over three levels – sold after auction for an undisclosed amount over $4.5m
  • 4 Wallis Avenue Glen Iris (James Tostevin/Daniel Wheeler, Marshall White) – large townhouse with basement parking, preferred northern light access and park frontage – sold at auction for an undisclosed amount in the early-to-mid 3m range


Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 22 September; an architect’s view

4 Gwenda Avenue Canterbury – Sally Morrison/Judy Balloch, Kay & Burton

56 Leura Gr Hawthorn East – Monica Rezk/Davide Lettieri, Marshall White

23 Fawkner Street South Yarra – Mark McKenzie/Gerald Delany, Kay & Burton

11 Newbay Crescent Brighton – Mark Staples/Gerry Gordon, Jellis Craig


‘Off-market’ Properties:

  • Renovated Edwardian with North rear, Malvern – circa $5m
  • Development site, NRZ3, 1,370sqm, Hampton – circa $4.4m
  • Period front w modern reno/extension family home, Hawthorn East – circa $3.75m
  • Family home on large land, park to Yarra behind, Ivanhoe East – early $3m
  • New large family home with pool, Highett – circa $2.1m
  • Renovated brick 2 bed 1 bath, Hawthorn – circa $1.6m
  • 1930s home to renovate or new home site, 713sqm, Hawthorn – circa $4.2m
  • Renovated 3 bed weatherboard, Northcote – circa mid $1m
  • Grand 1881 Terrace home w OSP, Fitzroy – circa high $2m
  • Art deco looking for full renovation, 713sqm, Caulfield South – circa mid $1m


Auction Spotlight:

7 Devorgilla Avenue Toorak

Gerald Delany from Kay & Burton was made to work hard to try and entice a bid from the crowd at 7 Devorgilla Avenue Toorak.

This well positioned home offeres good spaces within a functional floorplan, with a sunny north rear aspect. Good basement garaging was another plus, although the lack of lift may have deterred parts of the market.

Around 50 people attended the auction, led by Gerald Delany from Kay & Burton. Following the standard auction rules and complimentary overview of the property, Gerald was met with a quiet audience. A vendor bid of $4.7m was placed to get proceedings started. Try as he might by pushing the value of being the highest bidder to have exclusive negotiation rights, as well as going inside to give everyone some extra thinking time, nobody was forthcoming with an offer.  The property was passed in on the street, but it did not take long for an interested party to come forward and the home was sold shortly after for an undisclosed amount slightly over $4.7m.


64 Beaver St Malvern East

A large crowd came to observe the auction of 64 Beaver St Malvern East, but nobody was prepared to place a bid and the home remains on the market at time of writing.

An auction on Beaver Street Malvern East always draws a good crowd and the auction at number 64 was no exception. More than 100 people stood along both sides of the street to watch the action for the sale of this pretty and well renovated Edwardian. The home offers spacious family living within the Gascoigne Estate, with both west and north facing outdoor options even on a south rear block.

The home last sold 10 years ago for $3.325m and has since undergone a full cosmetic update, as well as the addition of the pool.

Justin Long and Rae Tomlinson ran the campaign, with Justin leading the auction on Saturday. As he customarily does, Justin opened with an instant $5.4m vendor bid to get the action started. Although there were so many in attendance, no one was prepared to actively participate in the auction, even after a half-time break. The property was eventually passed in and remains on the market at time of writing, with an asking price of $5.88m.

25 August 2018

Kristen & Alexandra reviewing the highlights of the renovated Californian Bungalow at 53 Plummer Rd Mentone with Lou Colella from Thomson Real Estate. Great young family or downsizer option.

It was another fortnight of good results for most of the ‘A’ grade properties, with position the key criterion that supported the properties that sold well.

Of interest, 20 Bridge Street Hampton (Michael Cooney/Melissa Grinter, Hodges) was auctioned again, the second time this year after being auctioned in late February.  The property passed-in this time to a genuine bidder for $3,125,000. We believe this to be down just slightly on earlier offers; however, it still suggests that the market in general hasn’t changed too much this year.

Located in an ‘A’ grade location (walk to both Hampton & Sandringham shops/station and the beach), the home is on the south side of the street yet quite cleverly brought sun into the living area. With no downstairs bed/bath combination, this perhaps ruled out one of the main buying groups – the downsizing market.

We believe a home could sell three times in the same year and get a different result each time, depending on the combination of variations (buyer groups, other homes for sale, weather, external economic influences) in the market place. The offer at Bridge Street (while it hasn’t sold) supports our belief that the market is fairly steady.

We think it also demonstrates that if you are trying to sell a ‘price’ rather than the property, now may not be the time to do it. If vendors are planning on ‘testing’ the market at the moment, it may be better to try quietly, particularly given the costs (advertising, staged furnishings etc) associated with a campaign.

We are seeing the number of off market/private sale properties continuing to increase and there are some good properties among them on offer.


45 Sims Street Sandringham (Jenny Dwyer, Hocking Stuart) – 809sqm of north-facing land in one of Sandringham’s premier streets, high on the hill, offering a basic timber home (many may have considered knocking down) – $2,310,000 or $2,855sqm

12 Derby Street Camberwell (Jonathon O’Donoghue/Alexandra Valmorbida, Jellis Craig) – large well-located land, approx. 847sqm with west-facing rear, and an attractive Victorian façade, liveable, but ready for its next major renovation – $3,800,000 or $4,486sqm

9 Wallace Grove Brighton (David Hart/Lisa Comben, Buxton) – approximately 920sqm, north rear, far enough from the activity zone, but still close enough to easily walk to Church Street and the beach, with a sizeable weatherboard, probably more suited to replacing rather than renovating – $3,805,000 or $4,135sqm

30 Rose Street Bentleigh (Andrew Panagopoulos/Nick Renna, Buxton) – a premium block of land with a pretty bungalow façade, approximately 785sqm with the north boundary facing Allnutt Park, ready for an update/renovation – $$2,375,000 or $3,025sqm

Occasionally there are also homes that defy the market, where two buyers have decided that (potentially irrespective of other due diligence regarding choice and/or price) they must have the home.  No doubt there were very happy vendors at both:

  • 36 Camperdown Street Brighton (Matthew Pillios/Kate Strickland, Marshall White) – saw the highest reported sale for the week.  An older home more recently undergoing a major renovation, with a very functional large family home floorplan, on the south side of the street – undisclosed but over $4,000,000
  • 12 Ashleigh Road Armadale – a four-bedroom brick family home on only 348sqm saw strong competition.  Compare this to 67 Northcote Road, which sold for an undisclosed amount just over $3 million the fortnight before. It was a single storey, four-bedroom home (missing the study and small retreat that Ashleigh offered) but on more land – 402sqm.  We didn’t do the full due diligence on either.  Both were conveniently located to shops and transport. We felt  the overall flow, proportions and position was better at Northcote, yet that sold for less – Ashleigh selling on Saturday for $3,180,000


Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 8 September; an architect’s view

82 Guildford Road Surrey HillsKathy Malcolm / Duane Wolowiec Marshall White

7 Devorgilla Avenue ToorakMichael Gibson/Robert Fletcher, Kay & Burton

64 Beaver St Malvern EastJustin Long / Rae Tomlinson, Marshall White

32 Kelvin Grove PrahranAndrew McCann / Carla Fetter, Jellis Craig


‘Off-market’ Properties:

  • Original single fronter, north rear, side ROW, Hawthorn East – circa mid $1m
  • Single level downsizer, close to amenities, Black Rock – circa $1.3m
  • Two family homes, north rear, Sandringham – circa high $1m
  • Family home, comfortable with scope to improve, Highett – circa mid $1m
  • Period home to renovate or new home site, central South Yarra – circa $7m
  • Renovated period home, north part of Brighton – circa $2m
  • Renovated semi attached Edwardian, Elwood – circa $1.8m
  • Renovated single level close to Hawksburn Village – circa $2.4m
  • Golden mile family home w pool, lift, city & beach views, Brighton – circa $4.5m
  • Single level renovated Victorian w OSP and Pool, South Yarra – circa $3m
  • Large family home on large land, up to 4 living zones, Hawthorn – circa high $7m
  • Original brick Federation home or development site (STCA), Kew – circa early $3m


Auction Spotlight 

5 Rooding Street Brighton

Nick Johnstone working the large crowd to entice a bid for 5 Rooding St Brighton.

5 Rooding St Brighton delivers a fully renovated Edwardian home with North rear, in close proximity to the amenities of Bay St.  Equally suited to downsizers or young families, the auction attracted a large crowd along both sides of the street in the afternoon sunshine.  Similar to many auctions in recent times, once the call for offers was made by Nick Johnstone from Nick Johnstone Real Estate, he was greeted with silence even after placing a vendor bid of $2.15m to get things rolling. Buyers were content to hold back and see what would happen, not fussed about getting the first right of refusal. The property was passed in on the street.  Post auction negotiations saw the home sold for an undisclosed amount above $2.2m.

12 Ashleigh Road Armadale

Three bidders gave Fraser Cahill from Marshall White plenty to work with at the auction of 12 Ashleigh Road.

A four-bedroom family home over 2 levels, as already detailed above, was on offer at 12 Ashleigh Rd Armadale. Fraser Cahill led the Marshall White team for the auction with enthusiasm and it became an entertaining spectacle.  Things started slowly with a $2.6m vendor bid and the customary wait by bidders before two $10k offers. At this point all looked stalled and Fraser went in for a discussion with the vendors.  An offer of $5k was rejected at this stage, leading to slow bids back and forth before a sudden jump by bidder 1 to $2.7m. Back to $10k rises and consistent requests by bidder 1 on whether the home was on the market. A mix of smaller and larger bids and the entrance of a 3rdbidder finally succeeded in gaining the call “it’s on the market” at $2.86m. A flurry of activity between bidder 1 and 3 swiftly brought the value to $3.14m at which point bidder 1 stepped out. Bidder 2 came back in for another appearance with the home eventually going to the third bidder for $3.180m.  A strong result!


11 August 2018

The media might be reporting doom and gloom everywhere, but if you have an ‘A’ grade property, the market is suggesting anything but gloom. We actually think it’s a good time to buy (the right property, of course), as competition is definitely at lower levels than this time last year. That said, if you buy the wrong property you could be in real trouble if it doesn’t meet your needs and/or if you need to sell it again in the short term.

Auction numbers have been very low the past few weeks, as agents and campaigns resume after the Winter break. We are just starting to see an increase in the number of new properties hitting the net, most with September auction dates.

With many properties overpriced or not quite right (ie busy road, privacy issues, tricky flow etc), the good ones are receiving most of the buyer attention and some are being heavily fought out at auction.

What do we mean by the ‘good ones’?

  • Position (as demonstrated below) as this can’t change – distance to transport, schools and shops

and a combination of the following:

  • Orientation – access to natural light (this really impacts the overall feel of a property)
  • Flexible floorplans – suit a variety of buyer groups (families, downsizers, couples, easy options to grow with families – single-storey homes are in particular demand)
  • Well renovated – as lives become increasingly busy, buyers are prepared to pay for the privilege of moving in with nothing to do
  • Unencumbered land or renovates, in the right location

That doesn’t mean that buyers will pay anything for an ‘A’ grader. The seller also needs to want to sell the property and be realistic about their price expectations. If they are searching for 10% more than last year’s highs, they may be disappointed to find themselves still in the category of home owner.

Vendors of ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade properties can also still be sellers, particularly if they are realistic about their price expectations and acknowledge their property’s shortcomings. Choosing an experienced selling agent will help achieve the desired outcome. We think this is very important. Last Saturday, six out of eight $1 million-plus Brighton East properties passed in  – and five of these were on a vendor bid.

The ‘off market’ market is particularly buoyant right now and most of our time has been spent in this space looking and buying for our clients. As a seller, it can be a good way to go, provided you have the right agent and have realistic expectations, particularly as bidders at auction are more scarce right now and advertising costs can add up quickly.


Highlights over the past fortnight:

All these homes had one thing in common – position:

  • 8 Rossfield Avenue Kew (James Tostevin/Sally O’Connell, Marshall White) – nestled among some of Melbourne’s prestigious private schools, this renovated bungalow with multiple bedroom options saw 5 bidders and a result over half-a-million dollars above the reserve – $3,680,000
  • 32 Miller Street Highett (Angus Graham/Greg Downes, Hodges) – this ready-to-move-in, single-storey home, well located to Highett Road shops and station, had 4 bidders, and, although it passed in, sold shortly after for a new record price in Highett – $2,041,000
  • 76 Sutherland Road Armadale (Susan McGlashan/Dean Gilbert, Marshall White) – on only approx. 225sqm with a two-storey terrace, not without the usual concerns re light being attached on both sides; however, conveniently located to shops and the station – undisclosed but circa mid $2millions
  • 18 Barkly Street Brighton (Alex Schiavo/Janine Lum, Kay & Burton) – approx. 374sqm land, opposite the school and with a south rear, but nestled between Outer and Middle Crescents and walking distance to both Bay Street and Church Street shops with an impeccably maintained original early ’60s home. The auction saw 6 bidders and a result of $1,870,000 or $5,000sqm


Some of the better properties scheduled for Auctions on 25 August; an architect’s view

12 Derby Street CamberwellJonathon O’Donoghue / Alexandra Valmorbida, Jellis Craig

5 Rooding Street BrightonNick Johnstone / Sarah Korbel, Nick Johnstone RE

12 Ashleigh Road ArmadaleFraser Cahill / Richard Mackinnon, Marshall White

13 Larnook Street PrahranAndrew James/James Annett, Hocking Stuart


‘Off-market’ Properties: 

  • Renovated Edwardian home on large land, Sandringham – circa mid $3m
  • Period home in need of renovation, central Brighton – high $3m
  • Renovated Victorian near amenities, Hawthorn – high $1m
  • Partially renovated Edwardian, Surrey Hills – circa mid $2m
  • Federation family home, Bentleigh – early to mid $2m
  • Tudor family home – circa mid $3m
  • 90s family home in Gascoigne Estate, Malvern East – circa mid $3m
  • Single fronted Victorian ready for renovation, Kew – circa $1.3m
  • Renovated villa close to amenities, Armadale – circa $2m
  • Single level family home, Hampton – circa mid $2m
  • Dated home on good north rear land, Hampton – circa early $2m
  • Renovated Hawthorne brick double fronter, Windsor – circa mid $1m
  • Victorian with modern extension, Armadale – circa $8m


Auction Spotlight: 

67 Northcote Rd Armadale

Justin Long from Marshall White faced a large audience at this auction, who weren’t put off by the rain coming down mid-way through proceedings.

This pretty Victorian double fronter was going to appeal to both downsizers and some families with what it offered in this position. Parking at the front and rear is a real bonus, as is the excellent north-west light in the open plan living zone. The flats over the rear fence are reasonably screened for privacy in the garden.

More than 70 people came to participate or observe the Marshall White auction led by Justin Long. Immediately opening with a vendor bid of $2.7m, two parties soon entered the competition, swiftly taking the offering to $2.9m. After discussions with the vendors, the auction was recommenced without further bids, passing in to bidder two. Post-auction negotiations saw the property sold for $3.05m.

1 Fawkner St South Yarra

Jeremy Fox and the RT Edgar Team work the crowd along Fawkner St for the auction of the single fronter at number 1.

Conveniently located to Fawkner Park, as well as the shops and restaurants of Toorak Rd and Chapel St, this pretty single fronter with north rear was another solid offering that went under the hammer on Saturday.  Renovated and well presented, with further scope to improve over time, the home gains good light via the ROW along the west boundary. OSP is available into the rear courtyard.

When Jeremy Fox from RT Edgar commenced the auction seeking offers around $1.7-1.8m, the crowd of about 40 remained silent. Eventually an opening bid of $1.6m was made and accepted. A further party entered and bids bounced back and forth to $1.78m, at which point Jeremy went inside for further instructions. Not yet on the market, the bidding recommenced, with a third bidder joining the action with bidder two. Stalling at $1.9m and again not on the market after talking to the vendors, the property was passed in on the street. Bidder three went inside for further negotiations, eventually buying the home for $1,988,888.

28 July 2018

What should we expect for the back half of 2018?

The internet sites are full of stock for sale but much of it is old stock that has been relabelled (new agency) and repackaged (new advertising).    Without a price reduction, we fear the stock will continue to grow.

The market has changed (we think to a more balanced one) and, unless the home is an ‘A’ grader, for the first time in a while vendors are needing to make some changes if they want a successful outcome.

Agent choice is likely to become more important for vendors.   Unlike 2017, when most of the feedback was positive, sellers need to be prepared and willing to listen and work with their agent to achieve their sale.

One of the biggest changes we have seen this year is the reduction in auction campaigns.  They have been replaced with EOI (expression of interest) campaigns and private sales.

The list of ‘off market’ homes (those without paid advertising) is growing at a staggering rate.

For many of these, vendor asking prices can be above 10% more than the highest prices achieved last year, which makes us wonder whether they are really for sale at all.  Inexperienced buyers could waste a lot of time pursuing something that isn’t even for sale, or worse, overspend on a property worth a lot less.  Knowing how to tell is the key.

Of the homes we have purchased for clients this year, only 53% have been bought at auction and more than 35% of those were pass-ins (most with multiple bidders).

33% have been off market, 7% before auction and 7% advertised private sale.

Having a tool kit of strategies, or an experienced buyer advocate, will help ensure you are equipped to navigate the different sale methods, no matter which method presents.


Some of the better properties scheduled for auctions on 11 August 2018: an architect’s view

8 Moorhouse Street ArmadaleCarla Fetter/Andrew McCann, Jellis Craig

10 Leslie Street Hawthorn – Rebecca Scanlon/Campbell Ward, Jellis Craig

50 Lucas Street Brighton East – Barb Gregory/Alyce Fleming, Marshall White

67 Northcote Road Armadale – Sally O’Connell/Fraser Cahill, Marshall White


Auction Spotlight

29 Tennyson St Sandringham 

Peter Hickey working the crowd on both sides of Tennyson Street to try and entice a bid at the auction of number 29.

29 Tennyson Street Sandringham sits high on the hill, offering bay views from the upper storey. The Federation home has retained its period features, in combination with a sympathetic extension at the rear, done some years ago.  The home offers plenty of spaces for a family (including a studio at the rear) in a prime Sandringham location close to the beach, shops and the train. Naturally, this drew quite a crowd to watch proceedings at the Buxton auction, led by Peter Hickey. Peter called for opening bids of $2.9m, which were not forthcoming. He eventually placed a vendor bid of $2.8m to get the ball rolling. Again the audience remained quiet, forcing Peter to place a final vendor bid of $2.9m before passing the property in. Discussions immediately commenced with a number of parties who expressed interest after the pass-in call. The home was sold shortly after for $3.05m.

16 June 2018

How has the first half of the property market faired for 2018?

We see the market as more ‘balanced’ now, which is very different to 12 months ago.  Stock levels and bidder numbers are both down and the market is far more discerning (and sometimes not even interested) when it comes to the B and C grade homes.

In this market, experience and knowledge counts.  Being aware of a property’s history and what is happening in the precinct is becoming more important.  This information is not always easy to obtain – full due diligence is up to the buyer of course as the selling agent is engaged by the vendor to represent the vendor.

 Half year observations:

  • Many agents do not have as many properties ‘locked in’ for spring campaigns as they did for the same period last year and we are noticing a number of changes within agencies regarding staff levels and office relocations.  Buyers may have to be more patient in the coming months and perhaps not pin too many hopes on the traditionally plentiful Spring options.
  • A lot more ‘stale, old or repackaged’ properties are around, some of these with their third or fourth agent/agency campaign, hoping to achieve a sale.  For many, unless the change is combined with a price reduction, they may be for sale a while longer.
  • Advertised quotes are being wound back on properties, and while the ‘new’ quoting laws have largely achieved the Andrew’s Government’s objective, the understanding of price and value for buyers is as confusing as ever. 
  • Suburban towers and/or medium density developments are having a big effect on nearby residential homes.  We are noticeably increasing our time spent at council deciphering nearby proposals and how they may affect properties we are considering buying for our clients. Knowing what to look for now may prevent unknown surprises in the future.
  • Off-street parking does not appear to be as coveted as it once was, and position is becoming even more important, particularly for teenage families and downsizers.
  • Schooling in Melbourne continues to be a prime consideration for many families.  In addition to buying close to schools (or public transport) to combat the traffic congestion, we have noticed a swing toward buying in public school zones keeping secondary schooling options open too.
  • Less bidders at auction (sometimes due to the quality of offering and sometimes because vendor expectations are too high).  We are also noticing less buyers through mid-week inspections.
  • Money is harder to get from financial institutions and the impact of bank/government reforms for overseas buyers is starting to take effect, with much less activity from Chinese buyers in particular.
  • More people are considering staying where they are – “Should I renovate or relocate?” Talking to architectural colleagues and builders, they are commenting that the enquiry is still strong. 

We have many discussions with clients about their options.  Having both a buyer advocacy and architectural services branch to our business allows us to have qualified informative discussions about the best options for each individual situation.

The market is quickly slowing down for Winter and the school holidays.  Many agents (and Melburnians in general) are getting away from the cold for a month or so in June/July and the future is now fully focussed on the Spring market and what may be coming up for sale in August.

That said there are still a number of homes around for sale privately.  Some have been around for up to a year or more, others are testing the market to see if they can still get last year’s price without the preparation, costly advertising and public auction.   In amongst all of these, there is occasionally a genuine seller ready to transact.  Buyers can waste a lot of time investigating these properties, however, particularly if they don’t have a full understanding of the market and the process.

In the short term buyers may see opportunities, however, in a tightening market we are likely to see even fewer properties for sale and even less of the ‘A’ grade properties (see our previous blog for more information on our thoughts regarding A, B & C grade properties https://www.woledgehatt.com.au/2-june-2018/ ).

As always, we think buying the right house first, is the most important goal.  Price can quickly wear off and you may find yourself left with a bargain you won’t enjoy living in or lose significant money on if you decide to re-sell it. As a growing family, that can really set you back.


21 Hume Street Armadale (Will and Tim Bennison, Jellis Craig) – a neat, lock and leave single storey home, suiting downsizers and young professional couples, not far from our office.  A narrow street, but central location – sold for an undisclosed price circa $2.8m

25 Kent Street Kew (Hamish & James Tostevin, Marshall White) – a large builder-spec styled home that last sold in 2013 for $2.2m (demonstrating the market isn’t all bad) –  sold for an undisclosed price in excess of $3.2m

60 Carpenter Street Brighton (Brydie Hamilton/Bert Stewart, Buxton) – a well located, corner block, with a single level smaller home (great downsizer) – $2.9m

A standout ‘land’ buy:

8 Metung Street Balwyn (Elsa Li / William Chen, Buxton) – approx. 678sqm land buy, tailored for a ‘AAA Chinese buyer’ offering the location and street number. Had previously sold in 2013 for $1.28m, then again in 2015 for $2,111,000 – this time $2,545m

… wonder when this will be up for sale again next?

Off Market:

  • good period home in Hawthorn, updated with garaging – circa $6m
  • renovated period home with good garaging, Prahran – over $4m.
  • modern townhouse, Prahran – circa $2m.
  • period home, Brighton – mid $2millions
  • large land (potential development site), Camberwell – $5m
  • modern home with court, Brighton – $6m
  • period home, low maintenance block, South Yarra – over $3.5m

Auction Spotlight

7 Auburn Grove Armadale

Andrew McCann was made to work hard with the crowd spread along both sides of the street at the auction of 7 Auburn Gr Armadale

7 Auburn Grove Armadale offers enormous potential to renovate and extend the existing period home into a family home for the next decades.  More than comfortable to live in as is while developing plans, the home offers good land at the rear, including OSP from the ROW and is well positioned to amenities.

A crowd of about 40 people attended the auction led by Andrew McCann and the Jellis Craig team.  Following the preamble, Andrew was met with the currently customary silence from attendees.  Eventually placing a vendor bid of $3.5m, no one was prepared to enter a counter-bid and the home was eventually passed in at this level.

Perhaps this is an example of the shifting market and vendor expectations exceeding those of buyers’ for a property such as this.  Quoting $3.7-3.9m before the auction, the home remains on the market, now seeking $3.695m.

11 Valetta Street Malvern

James Tomlinson working the bidders at the successful auction of 11 Valetta St Malvern.

The home at 11 Valetta Street Malvern attracted over 50 people to the auction.  Positioned only metres from Glenferrie Rd, the Victorian double fronter on approx. 416sqm of north rear land has recently had a full makeover within the original footprint making the home more comfortable for the short term.  At some stage, the good sized land then provides opportunity to take the property further (STCA) when desired.

Hugh and James Tomlinson from Marshall White ran the well-attended campaign, with James calling the auction on Saturday.  An opening bid of $2.4m was quickly received, followed by a second bidder and the 10k bids went back and forth swiftly.  At $2.5m the home was called on the market, eventually settling with bidder one for $2.525m.


2 June 2018

Adam evaluating a property from an architectural perspective – quickly assessing what can easily be improved

With almost half of the year gone, the Melbourne property market has slipped back to a more ‘balanced’ clearance rate.

We are currently seeing the following:

  • Less bidders at auction (sometimes due to higher vendor expectations or quality of offering)
  • Apartments and construction works are having an effect on traditional neighbourhood areas. The major planning changes of March 2017 are noticeably impacting on suburbs now
  • More people are prepared to stay where they are – “do I renovate or do I relocate?” We have many discussions with clients and prospects about this, and having both a buyer advocacy and architectural services branch to our business allows us to provide the pros and cons of both options to our clients in a timely manner

A real focus now is the Spring market and what stock is coming on in a few months, as most agents (and Melburnians in general) concentrate on getting away for a month or so in June/July. That said, there is a lot happening (or properties being tested) off-market.

The market has changed and we are entering a ‘buyers’ market.  The REIV clearance rate was 62% at 6pm on Saturday and 35% of the passed in properties were passed in on vendor bids.

For buyers, this may mean opportunities; however, in a tightening market we are likely to see fewer properties for sale and even less of the ‘A’ grade properties.

One question may be, what is a bargain?

For discussion purposes, if we break the properties in three categories – A, B and C, let’s focus on the things we can’t change.

We think an ‘A’ grader is a property that is well positioned, well oriented and has a functional floorplan, often fully renovated. Finding an ‘A’ grade bargain is hard. The properties are usually easy to spot and (with less choice) buyers will gravitate toward the good ones, potentially increasing the competition.

We regard a ‘B’ grader as a property that is still well positioned, has good land content and has the potential to become an ‘A’ grader with some thoughtful changes to the property.   We have the ability (Adam is a registered architect who has been practising for nearly 20 years) to identify these properties and quickly work out whether they can be easily improved. He can also make quick assessments regarding zonings, neighbours, council setbacks and overlays. This has helped our clients immeasurably, as they can make timely buying decisions and they have often been able to pursue properties at more affordable price points.

The properties where we have seen the biggest change in the market over the past six months are the ‘C’ graders. Thus time last year, properties positioned well away from amenities, with homes that were poorly designed/positioned for light, often located on busy roads or with negatively impacting neighbouring properties (ie apartment blocks) were attracting as much competition and emotion as the ‘A’ graders.  Buyers for these properties have all but disappeared or the buyers are now at much lower price levels than vendors. That said, the odd one has been selling, more often than not to a desperate or ill-informed buyer.

The googled definition of a bargain is ‘something bought or offered for sale much more cheaply than is usual or expected’.

Sometimes waiting for a bargain may mean you miss an opportunity to purchase the property that is going to suit your emotional and lifestyle needs.

You could hold out and wait to buy a property that has been sitting around for sale for the last 3-6 months or more. There are plenty of them around. Many of them have had asking prices well above even the top prices achieved in 2017. If the vendor expectations have changed, you may get lucky and buy a good property; however, just because it is ‘cheap’ may not mean it is the right property for you.

If it is not an ‘A’ or ‘B’ grader, consider how long you may need to hold the property until the next boom, where you may be able to see some good growth. The last boom we recall like 2017 was back in 2009 when the government relaxed the FIRB rules – that’s a long time to wait if the property doesn’t meet your lifestyle needs.

There will be some good opportunities around for buyers; however, we think it is important to buy a property that still meets around two-thirds of your key wish list, focusing on the things that can’t change. And unfortunately, that can mean waiting.

As the market continues to change, waiting to buy at the bottom of the dip may be short lived. Vendors are more likely to hold their properties and only sell if they need to; therefore, stock levels will also tighten further and, with limited choice for buyers, we could quickly see an improvement in the market and an upward trend returning towards the end of the year.


Stonnington Council saw some good results over the weekend.  Some of the properties that sold include:

  • 143 Finch Street Glen Iris – large family home on good land (approx. 876sqm), ready to move in with nothing to do – $4,855,000
  • 18 Plant Street Malvern – smaller (as new) townhouse style property with plenty of wow – undisclosed but circa $4m
  • 14 Airlie Avenue Prahran – single storey, renovated family home or downsizer with OSP for one – undisclosed comfortably over $3.5m
  • 16 Chanak Street Malvern East – single storey, renovated home with garden view impacted by large apartment tower, after passing in at auction, sold well – undisclosed over $2.5m

‘Off-market’ Properties:

  • A number of properties for sale on large land, Hampton – $5m plus
  • Corner block close to amenities, Brighton – circa mid $2m
  • Period home requiring renovation, Canterbury – circa mid $2m

Auction Spotlight:

18  Plant St Malvern

A large crowd came to see and participate in the auction of 18 Plant St Malvern, successfully sold by Andrew Hayne and the team from Marshall White

The near new, modern townhouse on offer at 18 Plant St Malvern was always going to attract a strong crowd.  Well suited to families with older children or early downsizers the home delivers space, light and very comfortable low maintenance living.  Andrew Hayne called the auction in front of the 50 plus crowd standing easy in the cul-de-sac. Opening with a $3.0m vendor bid, an offer of $3.3m followed by $3.5m – clearly showing the high level of interest in this property. A third bidder entered at this point and brought increments to a more sustainable level. At $3.6m the home was called on the market with steady bidding continuing, as a fourth bidder entered the action.  The property was eventually sold under the hammer for an undisclosed amount just under $4m.


14 Airlie Avenue Prahran

It took a while for the auction at 14 Airlie Ave Prahran to warm up in the crisp morning sunshine, although falling slightly short of vendor expectations, selling afterwards.

14 Airlie Avenue Prahran offers fully renovated family living with period features in a prime location.  An oversized master suite, spacious open plan living and off street parking (note garage too narrow for most cars) are highlights. The secondary living zone is on the smaller side.  Marcus Chiminello and Nicole French led the Marshall White team for the campaign and auction.  With no opening bids forthcoming, a vendor bid of $3.5m was placed to get the auction started.  This did not have the desired effect and Marcus was made to work hard, give everyone time to think with an early half time break and almost passed the property in when a last gasp offer of $3.52m was made.  A second couple joined in and the two parties traded offers with varying speed, finally settling at $3.715m where the property was passed in to bidder two. The home was sold in post auction negotiations at a level slightly above this.