March 21, 2015


Brighton: 3 St James Mews, Brian Devlin (Marshall White), under hammer, $3.55m, 3 bidders

For the really good properties, the auction market really sizzled today. Words such as ‘frightening and scary’ are strong ones, and they were being bandied about. And next week one would have to say the overall quality of offerings steps up yet again……

Two examples of properties that couldn’t sell last year, but did this year-

  • 46 Harts Parade Hawthorn (Andrew MacMillan/Carla Fetter – JC), selling for just over $2.5m in under three minutes – one of the quickest auctions many would have ever seen.
  • 10 Monaro Road Kooyong (Warwick Anderson/ RT Edgar) sold for mid $4m’s

Some other highlights – 

  • 66 Campbell Street Kew (James Scoones / David Fileccia, JC) selling over $500,000 over reserve for just over $3m. A good house but dated inside and really average façade, hard to change. Late last year almost double the land size with north facing rear backing on to the park sold for $2,400,000;
  • 55 Radnor Street Camberwell (James Tostevin/Anton Zhouk, MW) sold for around $2,300,000. Last year a much better home on the other side of the street sold for the same number, before auction (therefore also a strong price at the time);
  • 2a Dryden Street Canterbury (Duane Wolowiec/Stuart Evans, MW) – see auction review below.  In summary this sold 2 years ago for over $1.2m, gad a basic renovation ($340K according to the s32) then sold strongly;
  • 208 Beaconsfield Pde, Middle Park (David Wood, Hocking Stuart) – 300sqm and the option to rebuild, renovate or re-develop (stca).  Where true land sales are often hard to find in Port Phillip as many homes have heritage overlays, 208 Beaconsfield sold for a massive $15,000sqm or $4,510,000,  the position (on the corner of Harold) with uninterrupted views of the Bay providing a rare opportunity for buyers.

The common thread to many auctions on the weekend – Chinese buyers.

It seems the desire for the Chinese to buy large new homes close to good schools has moved south to Bayside. We attended the auction of 3 St James Mews, Brighton on Saturday which demonstrated this.

A fairly bold vendor bid by auctioneer, Peter Kakos (Marshall White), started the auction at $2,950,000. We say this because the previous highest reported sale in the street (which is located on the old Brighton Technical School site) was $2,000,000.

Three Chinese families were involved in the auction, however, bidding was fairly controlled until the property was announced on the market at $3,275,000.

Intensity increased after this announcement with the hammer knocking down to the successful purchaser for $3,550,000. This was the first time the property had been re-sold since 1995 where it was purchased for $350,000, an increase 10 times the original purchase price.

Quiet Sales:

Conventional Saturday auctions are not the only mode of selling and selling well, as Jock Langley (Abercromby’s) sold two Hawthorn properties 10-12 Kooyongkoot Rd and 21 Shakespeare Grove for around $9m and mid $7m this week also.

As a buyer in the market you need to think outside the square, and relationships with agents (not just one within the agency) is the key.

Some off-markets this week –

  • Large land holding in Scotch Hill – over 1000m2, basic house – over $4m
  • Modern spec home in Hawthorn East – mid-to high $2ms
  • Renovated period home in Camberwell – early $2ms
  • Neat townhouse in fringe of Gascoigne Estate – early to mid $1ms
  • Modern 4 bedroom with basement, Elwood – $3.5-4m
  • Landmark Victorian, Brighton – $5m+
  • Wide single-fronter with plans, Albert Park – high $2ms

Camberwell: 55 Radnor St, James Tostevin (Marshall White), under hammer, $2.3m, 4 bidders

The PPPs

The market has moved up quickly this year, taking another leap into unchartered territory for the first quarter of  2015.

With the market so hot at the moment, many buyers may be starting to feel like it’s ‘all too hard’.

Stock levels are similar to last year, however the number of buyers in the market place has increased.  The added pressure of a low Australian dollar is making it even more difficult to compete with international buyers and expats.

To maximise your chances of buying a home that will work, it is increasingly necessary to understand what it is you are trying to achieve.  For some it may be about the PPPs:

  • the house style or the land size (property)
  •  the importance of the location (position)
  • the dollars (price)

Whilst there is uncertainly around these things, it is far more certain that you won’t be buying something soon, or something that will work for you.

Once the ‘most important’ factor has been identified, additional flexibility around the other two Ps is the key to success at the moment.

For many, price is the least flexible of the three, however, buying a large home 10 kilometres further out than your preferred location, could become problematic, particularly if the children have to attend a school where you wanted to live.  10 kilometres is only 10 minutes on the weekend or the middle of the night, however, in school or peak-hour traffic, it can very easily escalate to 45-60 minutes and become quite taxing on the family lifestyle.

We help our clients work through different scenarios and provide property options and strategies to maximise buying a property that meets their most important goal.

Auction Highlights:

2a Dryden St, Canterbury, Antony Woodley (Marshall White), under hammer, $2.7m, 7 bidders

The setting couldn’t have been better for this auction as the sun was shining and the there was not a breath of air.

The vendors couldn’t have planned it better as they had renovated to sell (spending $340,000 as owner builders, according to the section 32) after buying the property almost two years ago for just over $1,200,000.

Campaign agents Duane Wolowiec and Stuart Evans roved the strong crowd of well over 100, and had everything perfectly in position for auctioneer Antony Woodley, who gave a spirited and well-measured preamble. There was a real buzz at this auction, and this was going to going to go strong, you could feel it.

The auction opened with a low bid of $1,850,000 (not sure why) and it didn’t take long for multiple parties (mainly Chinese) to get into the thick of things well and truly and take this person over.

At $2,530,000 the property was formally announced on the market and clipboards were going everywhere, with the Duane and Stuart helping to explain to bidders where the bidding was at. In the end the property was sold for $2,700,000 – a very, very solid result one must say.


Canterbury: 2a Dryden St, Antony Woodley (Marshall White), under hammer, $2.7m, 7 bidders

10 Monaro Rd, Kooyong, Warwick Anderson, (RT Edgar), under hammer, $4.5m, 2 bidders

Around 60 people gathered along the footpath opposite and in front of the property up for auction as auctioneer Warwick Anderson went through the preliminaries. Calling for an opening bid, Warwick briefly paused while a few noisy cars roared down the street before tabling a vendor bid of $4.4m to kick-start proceedings.

Bidder 1 joined in at $4.425m and Warwick searched the crowd for more. Bidder 2 offered a strong bid of $4.5m before our auctioneer headed inside to refer to his vendor.

Back outside and Warwick informed us he was now selling. With no further bids, it was a breeze to the finish line for Bidder 2 who took the keys to the door at $4.5m.


Kooyong: 10 Monaro Rd, Warwick Anderson (RT Edgar), under hammer, $4.5m, 2 bidders

27 Royal Ave, Sandringham, Mark Earle (Buxton), under hammer, $2m, 3 bidders

What an entertaining auction, starring Mark Earle and two sets of bidders who kept the crowd laughing and mesmerized throughout proceedings! Held in the spacious backyard of this Sandringham home, around 50 people made themselves comfortable as they listened to Mark extol the virtues of both the two-storey home and its location.

Calling for an opening bid, Mark was met with silence so he instead tabled a vendor bid of $1.6m. Bidder 1 came in at $1.62m and Bidder 2 joined in shortly after.

We had a brief cameo from Bidder 3, but in the end it was a comedic double act with bidders 1 and 2 stealing the show from our master of ceremonies with their witty replies and easy banter. The price crept up slowly and the curtain eventually came down at $2m to a round of applause from the appreciative audience.


Sandringham: 27 Royal Ave, Mark Earle (Buxton), under hammer, $2m, 3 bidders

Good floor plan flow

When looking to buy a home, floor plan flow is really important. If rooms are arranged in an awkward way, then the functionality and livability of the home can be seriously affected. Pokey corners, dark spaces and cramped passageways often result, and this can affect the safety of those who inhabit or visit the home.

It is much better to walk past a room rather than through it, and generally speaking the direction path through a home from the front to back should involve as few turns as possible.

When visiting homes to buy, try not to be ‘tricked’ by the way the way furniture (which is often hired) is laid out and take particular notice as to what may be omitted. Often dining room tables are taking out of open plan living areas (so where would you eat casually?) and/or there is only one couch (so where would the rest of the family sit?).

Imagine your own furniture in the home, and the way in which you would live in it.

This is really important, and you may be prudent to take a few room measurements on site and scribble on the floor plan in a considered way at home fitting in your own furniture and family needs.

Maybe the house has a lot of ‘wasted’ space!

Of course renovation changes can always be adopted, but the trickier the plan the more costly this is to do.


Agent Opinion: Are vendors excited by the market at the moment? Are they wanting to wait until May to start an auction campaign or are many keen to sell privately during April?

Andrew Hayne (Marshall White, Armadale):

main“There is a real combination of the two at the moment. Some vendors will wait until after May, if it is the right property, while others are choosing to sell off-market. There has been a lot of interest for campaigns after Easter, so we anticipate that May will be very busy.”