March 14, 2015


This week saw many strong auction results, particularly as it was the week after a long weekend and there are higher volume weekends to follow in the next fortnight, with many quality properties to choose from.  It seems the demand is really healthy right now for land buys.  Demand is also there for properties that can been deemed to have some disadvantages (i.e. easements, southern rear aspects, such as 138 Victoria Avenue, Hawthorn East (easement down the driveway), which sold for $2,202,000 with 6 bidders. That said properties with Heritage classifications and/or located on arterial roads are still proving to be limited by price.

We attended many auctions across the suburbs of Melbourne on Saturday, and the general vibe was strong.

It seems the Sackville Ward area of Kew is particularly hot right now (in particular Scotch Hill in Hawthorn), with land selling for around the $4000/m2 mark. Not too long ago $3000/mw was the norm, so there has definitely been a shift up in the minds of buyers. Two auctions of note:

  • 28 Rowland Street (Dave Oster/Mark Sproule, Marshall White)  –  bought for $3,840,000.  Land size 960m2 – around $4,000m2
  • 16 Ross Street – $ 1,870,000 (Greg Toogood/Danielle Makris, Jellis Craig) – bought for $1,870,000. Land size 430m2 – $4,328m2

Within the precinct, one prestige property to watch is 22 Thomas Street (Jin Shang/Mandy Zhu, RT Edgar). This is large modern home built over three levels and consisting of 5 bedrooms. 7 bathrooms and 8 carparks within a basement. The quote is “over $6m”, land size 680m2 approx.

The land price in the Sunnyside Estate of Camberwell also looks to be on the move. Deb Silk (Noel Jones) sold No. 30, which was 836m2 and had a south rear relatively flat block for $2,720,000. That works our at about $3200.m2. Compare this to No.12 (very similar) which sold for  $2,365,000 last September.

There has been a steady increase in property prices in Black Rock, with 3-5 Fourth Street (Barb Gregory / Robin Parker, Marshall White), selling on Saturday in excess of $3,800,000 – over $1million above the reserve.

An area where growth has been slower off the mark, in 2012 there were only 4 reported sales over $2million.  In 2013 it doubled to 8 and in 2014 there were 13, 4 of which were in excess of $3million.  This may be a new growth area for buyers as they become out-priced in suburbs closer to the city.

Some other big results of note this week:

  • 106 Stanhope Street Malvern (Rob Vickers-Willis / Jeff Gole, Abercromby’s) – above $5m, on market $4.75m
  • 11 Collington Avenue Brighton (Rob & Kate Strickland, Marshall White) $3,520,000
  • 17 Fraser Street Malvern (Mark Wridgway / Justine Harris,  RT Edgar) $3,690,000

It wasn’t ‘wins all round’ on the weekend, there were still a few pass-ins where buyers may find opportunities.

36 Gellibrand Street, Port Melbourne passed in on a vendor bid of $1million with no bidders.  Approximately 314sqm, opposite the park and a short walk to the beach, it appeared buyers preferred to focus on 354 Williamstown Road (a major arterial with heavy traffic), but offering a traditional bank house for renovation, which sold for $1,010,000 with 4 bidders.

Other pass-ins (sold afterwards):

  • 31 The Ridge, Canterbury passed in for $3,165,000 (Scott Patterson, Kay & Burton) selling after in excess of $3,300,000
  • 26 Stanley Street, Black Rock passed in for $1,460,000 (Romana Altman, Buxton) selling after in excess of $1,650,000



With the first quarter campaign season drawing to a close, the focus could now shift to ‘off-market’ properties.  With many of the recent buyers still with homes to sell, for many the first campaign opportunity is likely to be May.

Where vendors are nervous to wait 4-6 weeks before starting their campaign, there may be opportunities for agents to put together some quiet sales.

Understanding which agents to approach, how much information to provide and the process will be important if you want to successfully purchase a home quietly.

Providing too much information may make you vulnerable to price if you don’t understand values or don’t find what you want and are still searching when the auction market returns, it may also mean you miss opportunities where an agent doesn’t suggest something as they don’t understand your buying capacity for certain properties.

We have been advised of, and seen multiple ‘quiet’ properties for sale over the last week.  A few examples include:

  • Unrenovated Bank House in Port Melbourne – low $1ms
  • Good family home in Ardrie Park East Malvern area mid $1ms
  • Land proposition in Balwyn High Zone above $1.9m
  • 3yo home, 4 bed, Middle Brighton over $4m
  • Renovated period home, Brighton, 3 bed plus study, pool mid-high $2’s
  • Large period family home, Grace Park (Hawthorn), north rear above $6m
  • Clendon Court, a renovated Edwardian, over $5m

Auction Highlights: 

28 Rowland St, Kew, Dave Oster (Marshall White), under hammer, $3,840,000, 8 bidders

There was a real buzz at this auction, and fair enough. Prime Sackville Ward land – just under 1000m2 of it in a really good part – Rowland Street.

With s south facing rear aspect and the church located across the road (not ideal for many cultures, namely Chinese) this property did have its shortcomings.

While it was unusually quiet for a Grand Prix Saturday afternoon (I could always remember hearing the F1’s buzzing around in Boroondara – not now though as they have changed the engines), auctioneer Dave Oster got the auction underway at $2.5m and it didn’t take too long to get going.

With a string of bidders in the early $3m’s, Dave announced the property on the market at $3.5m and it was largely then a battle between two Chinese families, placed either side of experienced Marshall White agent Robert Ding with clipboard in hand, writing down the bid increments.

A elderly local gent came in quite late and ended up winning the day at $3.84m – which was a strong result. 8 bidders in total here and well conducted auction by Dave who kept pace perfectly and conducted himself very respectfully in front the big crowd of well over 100 people.


354 Williamstown Rd, Port Melbourne, Frank Callaghan (Frank Gordon), under hammer, $1,010,000, 4 bidders

A midday auction and the sun was burning down on the backyard of 354 Williamstown Road. The 40 or so onlookers sought shade where they could leaving the hottest spot in the yard for auctioneer Frank Callaghan to conduct proceedings.

Frank stayed cool and calm despite the heat, fielding bids from four bidders in all corners of the sunny yard. The house itself is a blank canvas waiting for some rejuvenation. The recent sale of a completely refurbished ‘Bank House’ nearby shows the potential of this style of house.

Bidding opened at $800,000 and at around the $930,000 mark, Frank announced that there was no reserve and we would be selling.

Some more bidding ensued before the hammer came down to a very pleased Bidder 4 at $1,010,000.


65 Claremont Ave Malvern, John Bongiorno (Marshall White), under hammer, $2,510,000, 2 bidders

With a crowd in excess of 100, auctioneer John Bongiorno, didn’t have to work too hard for an opening bid, with two bidders jumping in immediately.

If there were other parties planning on bidding, they never got the chance.

On the market at $2,200,000 the property eventually sold for $2,510,000, in excess of $4,000 sqm.


Architectural Concepts: 19 Marlborough Ave Camberwell 

The Golf Links Estate in Camberwell had a very distinctive uniform style – and it had a real charm. If you are lover of the English style (that is to say brick homes, with tiled roofs, timber windows and cottage gardens) then you will like this precinct of Camberwell.

This home has many pluses, and great bones for renovation and extension, which are:

  • North facing rear aspect
  • Pretty facade
  • Good sized volume on two levels

While very liveable in its current form, the central kitchen, dated utility areas and lack of a bathroom to the first floor are obvious weaknesses for modern day living in this house presently.

While a bigger scale renovation could easily be created, the response below looks to keep the first floor envelope and only extend back the rest of the house in a small way. It is in a way spending as little as possible to achieve a functional plan and helping to avoid overcapitalisation.


Agent Opinion: With the timeframe for campaigns before Easter now passed, what are the selling plans for May?

Glen Coutinho (RT Edgar Boroondara)


“Most pre Easter auctions are now locked away. Vendors are now planning campaigns starting after Easter and the school holidays,
with the start date being the first Saturday in May. Subsequently the last two Saturdays in May will be big auction days.”


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