The current market conditions are testament to why we always encourage people to buy well and buy an ‘A’ grader. In a flatter, or lower, market, these are the properties that will hold their price or value.
In addition, we are observing that, more often than not, the properties selling at auction are being sold within the quote range declared in the Statement of Information.
However, if the agent doesn’t get the quote right, it could lead to trouble for the vendor with low (or no) buyer inspections at the property.
The good properties with good fundamentals that are priced right are also seeing multiple bidders. Perhaps not the 4 and 5 bidders of 2016/2017, but often 2 or 3. Some of this is a result of fewer buyers in the market place; however, another key driver is the more accurate quote range, which has reduced the number of hopefuls bidding when they were unlikely to ever be in the race.
We believe due diligence, and buying an ‘A’ grader, proves invaluable at the moment for buyers.
Although stock levels are low, there are a number of good opportunities if you’re looking to buy a home for the longer term, including in the ‘off market’ sector. There are currently a number of homes presenting for re-sale within only one or two years of purchase. While sometimes this cannot be helped (death/divorce), some due diligence may otherwise reduce the need to resell quickly.
If you had bought an ‘A’ grader in the peak, if you have to sell it now, the result is likely to be more favourable than if you are needing to sell a ‘B’ or ‘C’ grader.
We also recommend buyers seek independent advice from experts if they have queries, as the selling agent is engaged and paid by the vendor to achieve an outcome for the vendor. When it comes to property restrictions, surrounds, renovation options, understanding precincts and price, such advice may help reduce the need to sell again in the short term.
For consideration, recent growth and development has resulted in councils re-assessing current overlays, such as flood and heritage. Some examples include:
Stock levels so far this year have been low and we are about to see another reduction in stock as we pause for the school holidays, Easter and Anzac Day public holiday. It is important in this market to ensure you are buying the right house. The good ones are few and far between at the moment. Without a plan and the right information, it could be easy to buy the wrong property.
While there is constant suggestion that the market could be flat or even fall further and possibly for several years to come, our lives don’t stop. We will continue to age, we may have children and they will grow up, they won’t leave home, then they will, we will grow old, we will move away or return for work or family and none of these things will wait for the market. If the house is right, it is a good time to buy.
We always talk about buying an ‘A’ grader or something that could be an ‘A’ grader with the right work because ‘B’ and ‘C’ graders really do struggle in a declining market.
- 9 Weybridge Street Surrey Hills (David Banks/Simon Lord, Jellis Craig) – single figure quote $1.8m – approximately 797sqm land with north rear and no heritage – sold for $2.35m
- 62 Essex Street Surrey Hills (Belinda Anderson/Mark Salvati, Jellis Craig) – quote $2.5-2.75m – a quirky modern home on approximately 1,000sqm land – sold for an undisclosed amount toward the mid $3m mark.
- 12 Caroline Street Sth South Yarra (Charlotte Broussard/Grant Wallace, HockingStuart) – quote $1.3-1.4m – smaller updated period home with OSP, A grade location – sold for $1.642m
- 4 Embling Road Malvern (Madeline Kennedy/James Redfern, Marshall White) – quote $4.4-4.8m – a nicely updated Federation Queen Anne home on approximately 900sqm, passed in for $4.64m and sold for an undisclosed amount slightly more than the pass in price
- 36 Imbros Street Hampton (Marl Earle/Sally Pickering, Buxton) – quote $2.8-3m – a ‘newer build’ among Castlefield’s heritage estate with double garaging and north rear, passed in on a vendor bid of $2.85m and sold over the weekend for $3m
- 30 Alfred Street Kew (Scott Patterson/Sophie Su, Kay & Burton) – quote $3.5-3.7m – approximately 781sqm land with original home and south rear – sold for an undisclosed amount mid-range
Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 6 April: an architect’s view
9 Kintore Street Camberwell – Mark Josem/Alastair Craig, Jellis Craig
39 Hawthorn Grove Hawthorn – Doug McLauchlan/Hamish Tostevin, Marshall White
21 Moama Road Malvern East – Fiona Ansell-Jones/John Manton, Marshall White
7 Retreat Road Hampton – Perter Hickey/Mark Earle, Buxton
- Art Deco over 3 levels, pool, approx. 460sqm, Toorak – circa $4m
- Brick Edwardian, dated renovation, Malvern – circa mid $1m
- Fully renovated, high tech, modern home, approx. 790sqm, Camberwell – circa early $3m
- Fully renovated Victorian single fronter, SLUG, approx. 292sqm, South Yarra – circa mic $2m
- Extended Art Deco, dated renovation, pool, approx. 650sqm, Brighton – circa mid $3m
- Modern upside-down home, expansive water views, Black Rock – circa $5m
- New large family home on approx. 540sqm, pool, Brighton – circa early $4m
- Dated single level home on approx. 600sqm, west rear, Brighton – circa early $2m
- Renovated, semi-attached Edwardian on approx. 400sqm, Ripponlea – circa mid $1m
- Brick Victorian looking for upgrade/new home site, approx. 750sqm, Caulfield South – circa $2m
- Brick Edwardian, partially renovated, approx. 750sqm, north rear, Elwood – circa early $3m
- Fully renovated brick Edwardian on approx. 250sqm, Elwood – circa early $2m
- Blond brick home with scope to improve, approx. 528sqm, Elsternwick – circa early $2m
- Restored Edwardian, DLUG, studio, approx. 374sqm, Richmond – circa mid $2m
12 Caroline St South Yarra offers a neat and tidy single fronter with the benefit of OSP (albeit for a smaller car). The home has been renovated over time, delivering excellent natural light in an ‘A’ Grade location, quoting $1.3-1.4m.
A large crowd had gathered as the clouds cleared from the morning showers, giving Grant Wallace and the Hocking Stuart team plenty of interest to work with. Starting with a vendor bid of $1.3m, three bidders swiftly took the offers up to $1.46m at which the agents took a break to chat with the vendors. Declared on the market a little later at $1.49m, bidder one remained keen and was now joined by a fourth. Both were obviously very keen to gain access to the keys, steadily trading bids, before bidder one slowed considerably, eventually allowing bidder four to secure the home for $1.642m. A solid outcome for the vendors.
With light rain falling, this auction took place indoors and a reasonable crowd of about 40 people gathered in the rear family room to watch proceedings. A solid, free-standing double-fronted brick Victorian was on offer and we liked its potential, as there is room for a modern extension (stca) and the position is a conveniently central one, albeit the street is a little narrow. Auctioneer Justin Long gave a warm spiel about the home and the immediate environs and didn’t look for an opening crowd bid, but rather promptly announced a vendor bid of $2.8m. This did little to encourage any active bidding and the property passed in at this figure. At time of writing, the property remains for private sale for $3.1m.
The first big test weekend for 2019 has passed somewhat smoothly, albeit a far cry from the start of 2017 and even 2018. Most of the properties we attended had bidding, even if it was from only one party, with the property more often than not selling after in private negotiations.
The quote has become an important part of the process. Many of the homes we reviewed over the weekend sold within their respective quote ranges. Moving forward, however, this may be more difficult for agents to predict, as an increasing number of homes are being reported sold with no prices recorded.
If buyers and sellers were waiting for some additional guidance after this weekend, the results suggest there are good opportunities to buy or sell at the moment. If buyers are only searching for bargains, or sellers are waiting for a dream price, they might be better to wait. For those wanting to move onto various stages of their lives, whether it is buying, selling or both, there is still a market there.
For those thinking of upgrading, now can be an even better time to make the move, particularly if you are willing to buy something a little ‘daggy’ that you can fix up over time.
We believe there are still a number of well-located properties that can become ‘A’ graders out there to buy. The key is being able to identify the level of work required and cost involved to assess whether the end product would be over-capitalising for the suburb. A basic understanding of what can and cannot be done in a town planning and building permit sense is also a very important consideration. Adam, a registered and practising architect, has helped many of our clients buy into suburbs otherwise unachievable had they been searching for completed products.
Highlights (sold within the range):
- 17 Bamfield Street Sandringham (Sally Pickering/Richard Slade, Buxton) – quote $1.98-2.17m, sold undisclosed over $2m
- 14 Pine Grove Malvern (Carla Fetter/Andrew McCann, Jellis Craig) – quote $2.5-2.65m, sold undisclosed top end of quote
- 27 Manningtree Road Hawthorn (James Tostevin/Michael Wood, Marshall White) – quote $2.2-2.4m, sold $2.325m
- 7 Bolton Avenue Hampton (Elizabeth Lopez, Biggin & Scott) – quote $2.8-3.08m, sold $3.02m
Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 2 March; an architect’s view
10 Willansby Avenue Brighton – Sarah Korbel/Russ Enticott, Nick Johnstone
128 Harcourt Street Hawthorn East – Chris Daly/Danielle Balloch, Jellis Craig
25 Woodside Crescent Toorak – James McCormack/Andrew Hayne, Marshall White
18 Staniland Avenue Malvern – John Morrisby/Matthew Coombs, Jellis Craig
- Fully renovated & landscaped family home, Toorak – circa $9m
- Pretty Victorian double-fronter, Hawthorn – circa $2.65m
- Two storey, Art-Deco duplex, 3-2-1, Elwood – around $2m
- Modern Townhouse with lift, school zone, Beaumaris – circa $2.4m
- Single level family home on over 850sqm, Malvern East – circa early $2m
- Timber Victorian family home, 2 storey with West rear, Armadale – circa $3m
- Californian Bungalow on good land, Balaclava – circa $2.6m
Well positioned to the Bay Street shopping precinct, 55 Durrant St Brighton offers a family home with multiple living options and good bedroom separation, as well as an easy-flowing entertainer’s deck and pool off the rear lounge. Comfortable now, but the home would benefit from a freshen up. A sizeable crowd gathered in the garden for the Nick Johnstone auction, quoted at $1.8-1.85m. Following the preamble, Nick was faced with a silent crowd, even after he placed his one and only vendor bid of $1.75m. Eager to entice a bid, he offered to jump into the pool fully clothed for any bid that was placed! It took a while for this strategy to work, with a young couple eventually taking the plunge with a $1.755m offer. There was almost another bid placed, although quickly corrected. No further action was to be gained from the crowd, so the property was passed in for further negotiations with the bidder. The home sold shortly after for an undisclosed amount close to $1.9m. Nick Johnstone kept his promise and took a leap into the pool after the deal was done.
In vast contrast to last weekend’s sweltering conditions, the temperature on Saturday hovered around 15 degrees for most of the day with heavy showers and intermittent squalls … but that’s Melbourne!
What was the same, surprisingly, was the number of buyers out at opens, braving the weather and checking out the stream of new properties open for inspection.
There was also a spattering of auctions across inner Melbourne. The five key councils (Boroondara, Stonnington, Glen Eira, Port Phillip and Bayside) saw 20 reported auction results. Collectively the suburbs within these councils cleared 70%. Interestingly, all but two sales were under $2million and the two that were over that figure passed in.
Such few results really don’t provide an indication on market direction. We are more likely to get a better feel after the auctions on Saturday 23rd February, where there should be more volume.
A lot of time has been spent worrying about whether the Banking Royal Commission Report would further impact market conditions. Immediate downward changes to the market were seen at the commencement of the enquiry, with banks tightening lending criteria, introducing new checks and measures before making funds available and restricting interest only/investment loans. This, however, has been done and the market has adjusted accordingly.
Among the recommendations there was much focus on changing the rules regarding mortgage broker remuneration. We believe good mortgage brokers play an important role in the property market. They are often able to assist small business owner buyers into the market, taking the time to consider their needs and explore the plethora of options available from all banks and financial organisations to find the right package. Many are small business owners themselves. Whether this will impact the market further, only time will tell.
As quickly as the market has started, it will soon be school holidays and Easter and the new stock will dry up again. With ‘Labour Day’ long weekend looming, some agents have mentioned longer campaigns to ensure buyers absent over that weekend have time to view properties before they are auctioned. This may also be a strategy to try and sell a few homes before auction if they feel there may be only one standout buyer.
- Renovated single fronter with OSP on approx. 190sqm, Prahran – circa $1.55m
- Pretty period home on large land, Hawthorn – $5.5m-6m
- Single level Victorian with large courtyard, Hawthorn – circa mid $1m
- 3 bed single fronter with 2 bath, 2 OSP, Kew – circa $1.7m
- Family home on approx 579sqm, Malvern – circa early $2m
The 2019 property market started positively on Saturday. Perfect weather, some good choices among the new listings and plenty of interested buyers inspecting homes. While we saw many new faces, there were also a number of more familiar faces out and about again, still looking for their perfect home.
Saturday, in reality, was vastly different to the anticipated doom and gloom we had expected to see after reading the ‘House price plunge hits GFC levels’ article in Saturday’s Age before heading out to our inspections.
Of the homes we inspected today, most had a positive vibe and good numbers through the doors. (Note that we generally only inspect the better homes on offer, after ruling out a large portion from review). Some homes, such as 8 Henrietta Street Hawthorn, 64 Paxton Street Malvern East and 22a Ferguson Street Brighton East, were overwhelmingly busy with more than 30 groups through each, reminding us of the more recent buoyant markets.
There’s still a fair bit of water to go under the bridge before we can determine the accuracy (or inaccuracy) of the negative summer media market headlines. However, if numbers are anything to go by, it was a resounding tick for success. With such beautiful weather, we are sure there were better options than looking at homes just for fun!
Questions still loom, however, as to whether the Banking Royal Commission findings report, to be handed down today, will further impact the market. Maybe next weekend there will be no buyers?! Although we can’t see that happening. Looking at the number of families searching on the weekend, they need homes to live in now and really can’t wait until times may be more suitable – the children are growing now.
We see the current market providing good opportunities for buyers. Prices are more achievable than 12-24 months ago, particularly as many vendors have now adjusted to the changing conditions.
Of most importance is the need for buyers to be ‘Buy-Fit’ before embarking on the search. What do we mean by ‘Buy-Fit’? We mean completing some due diligence before starting physical inspections.
- Ensuring finance is in place. This can now be a lengthy process, often longer than the three weeks a sales campaign usually runs. Regularly checking it to ensure its currency is also important.
- Familiarise yourself with the updated prices within the precincts of suburbs. Some areas have not changed, others have seen significant change. Knowing this can help with negotiations. As fewer homes are being sold under auction conditions, the social proof re price is no longer easily visible
- Determine your non-negotiables in advance and stick firm on them. While it is unlikely you will find a home that ticks 10/10, stamp duty is an additional cost of 5.5% on top of the purchase price. It can be an expensive exercise if you need to sell again quickly.
Many agents reported an increase in the number of homes sold in January compared to previous years. While positives can be taken from this, the last few years often saw little stock left unsold leading into the holidays (ie. nothing or very little to sell in January). It does, however, demonstrate that buyers are around and willing to transact at the right price and vendors are becoming more commercial as time goes by.
New stock levels are still fairly low as we start the year. In among the choices are some quality homes. Early indications would suggest that the well-priced, well-located homes should receive solid competition; however, for vendors who haven’t yet adjusted to the new market it may be a little harder to achieve a sold sticker on their board.
Some of the better properties scheduled for Auction on 23 February; an architect’s view
1a Bayview Rd Beaumaris – Amanda Thomson/Nick Jones, Chisholm & Gamon
64 Paxton Street Malvern East – Fiona Ansell-Jones/Andrew Hayne, Marshall White
19 Spencer Road Camberwell – Geordie Dixon/Michael Hingston, Jellis Craig
4 Silver Street Malvern – Tim Derham/Michael Derham, Abercromby’s
- Two storey period home on ~500sqm, brick, Nth rear, Armadale – circa $5m+
- Double fronted brick Edwardian, North rear, St Kilda – early $2m
- Large period home on over 1,000sqm, Hawthorn – circa $6m
- 4 bed family home with pool, Malvern – circa high $4m
- Modern two storey home, 4 bed, DLUG, pool, Canterbury – circa $3.5m
- Family home, high tech, pool on approx 930sqm, Malvern East – circa $6m
- Close to beach, 899sqm, dated home, Beaumaris – circa early $2m
- Large townhouse with lift, school zone, Beaumaris – circa $2.4m
- Renovated period, two storey home, approx. 775sqm, Brighton – circa $4.2m
- Basic home, good land with tennis court, prime beach location, Brighton – circa $8m+
- Good land, 650sqm, well positioned, Hampton – early $2m
- Renovated period home on large land, Brighton – circa $6m
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.
- 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.
- 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
11 Wheatland Road Malvern
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
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.
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.
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
4 Leopold Street 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
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.
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
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
- 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
5 Edward Street Armadale
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
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.
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
- 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
19 Collingwood St Sandringham
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
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.
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
- 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
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
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.
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 Hills – Kathy Malcolm / Duane Wolowiec Marshall White
7 Devorgilla Avenue Toorak – Michael Gibson/Robert Fletcher, Kay & Burton
64 Beaver St Malvern East – Justin Long / Rae Tomlinson, Marshall White
32 Kelvin Grove Prahran – Andrew McCann / Carla Fetter, Jellis Craig
- 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
5 Rooding Street 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
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!