May 16, 2015


9 Lansell Crescent Camberwell – Stephen Gough, Marshall White. Opened at $1.5m, on the market at $1.85m and then sells to a Chinese family for $2.35m. That is a particularly strong result, given only eight weeks ago a similar home in Marlborough Crescent sold for $1.93m!

The Melbourne property market doesn’t appear to be showing any signs of slowing down. With the number of new properties hitting the internet set to slow down as the market heads into the mid-year ‘hibernation’ around school holidays, bidder numbers have intensified, particularly for certain properties such as single level homes, larger family homes and new home sites.

Speaking to Jack Bongiorno in our travels over the weekend, he pointed out that Marshall White has had almost identical auction numbers (754/755) this year compared to last. The big difference between the two – increased buyer interest which has resulted in:

  • Higher clearance rates; and
  • Stronger prices

However, we attended 15 auctions over the weekend with only six selling under the hammer.   Of the nine that passed in, only 4 have sold.  This may be an indication that vendor expectations are starting to increase.

While prices overall are strong and bidding depth solid, there are still some good buying opportunities out there;

  • 17 Willansby Avenue Brighton (Gerry Gordon, Marshall White). 348m2 of well located land with a liveable yet basic house. While this property is part of the encouraged development zone, the property to the northern side (which would most likely affect access to light and outlook) was heritage protected. Five conservative bidders saw it sell for $1.23m.
  • 22 Percy Street Hawthorn (Lloyd Lawton, Jellis Craig). A really well thought-out renovation to a period home, albeit a little dated now. The big plus for us on this property was the sense of space to the rear yard – especially given the precinct which is mainly small cottage homes on smaller blocks. 502sqm in this area is really good and at just over $2.5m, this was a smart buy, given an unrenovated version at 23 York Street on smaller land (350m2) for $1.523m about 6 weeks ago.
  • 16 Anderson Street South Melbourne (Greg Hocking). Great bones to this solid double-fronted Victorian, located in one of South Melbourne’s best streets. This was about “live-in now, then renovate in time” and below is one example of what this property may become.  After a low opening bid from the crowd at  $1.93m, it was quickly counted by a vendor bid of $2.1m, selling afterwards for $2.25m.

Concept - Anderson[1]-page-001

The two markets which have been attracting great interest for many months are the downsizing market and those looking for good land to develop (featuring mainly Chinese buyers particuarly in Boroondara).

New home sites:

  • 9 Kalang Road Camberwell (Michael Hingston, Jellis Craig). 959sqm of good north-facing rear land, with a basic house yet a good-sized 5 bedroom basic house. Placing no value on the house this sold for just under $3100/m2. A traditionally ‘fringe’ part of Camberwell, this was a strong result, particularly as number 12 (a better house on similar south facing land size) sold just under $1.95m back in August last year.
  • 45 Studley Road Brighton East (Simon Pintado, Buxton) 786sqm, sold for $1,71m or more than $2000sqm opposite Dendy Park.  Advertised as a potential new home site, this $sqm rate is more commonly seen in Brighton East closer to Hampton Street and the schools, although 50 Baird Street (Robin Parker, Marshall White) sold for $1,731,000 or more than $2500sqm.


  • 18 Belgrave Street Hawthorn (Michael Hingston, Jellis Craig). No car-park yet a tidy single-fronted 3 bedroom period home with good access to north light sold for $1.599m. Downsizers fought this out with three other bidders and came out on top.
  • 59 Repton Road, Malvern East (John Manton, Marshall White). Tidy 4 bedroom home with modest first floor extension on 358sqm. Sold  just over $1.5m. Back in March an unrenovated double-fronted version on twice the land size a few doors away sold for $1.5m.

Downsizers :

130 Finch Street, Malvern East (Rae Tomlinson, Marshall White). A good single level home on smaller land and requiring minimal ongoing maintenance, this old for just over $2m under good competition.  The front ‘pair’ property sold for just under $1.8m about two years ago.

33 Elm Grove Brighton (Stephen Smith, Marshall White). Offering good accommodation for families and/or downsizers, the location and single level were contributing factor here – read our report below.  The successful buyer – another downsizer.

We are hearing of many younger buyers (looking for larger homes for their growing families) starting to lose confidence in this climbing market.

There are still good opportunities for younger families.  Understanding what to look for is the best way to start:

  • Location (close to primary schools, shops, transport)
  • House with volume eg. second storey already in existence(daggy is fine, most people are happy to renovate cosmetically but they are daunted by the planning and building process)
  • Safe street, with uniform house character and ‘like-minded’ neighbours

The second is to stick with the brief.   Often young families will ‘spread their wings ‘ to include many suburbs, rather than focusing on the one or two that suit best. This can lead to “not seeing the forest for the trees” stress levels increase, and good opportunities can be missed.


Armadale: 32 Glassford St (Marshall White), bought after auction, undisclosed, 2 bidders

Auction Highlights:

76 Tivoli Road, South Yarra (Jeremy Fox, RT Edgar), bought after for an undisclosed amount, 2 bidders

The sun was shining and the crisp Autumn leaves were fluttering in the breeze as Jeremy Fox stepped out into Tivoli Rd in front of around 50 people. With the imposing Victorian as the impressive backdrop, Jeremy praised both the home and its location before asking for an opening bid. Initially looking for $4m, Jeremy then suggested $3.8m. Bidder 1 was quick to jump in at this level, as was Bidder 2 (a prominent agent on behalf of his client) who offered strong counter bids each time Bidder 1 raised the bar. At $4.35m, Jeremy headed inside to talk to his vendor. Upon his return, he told the crowd we were close to the reserve, but with no more bidding, the property was passed in for further negotiations. Bought after auction for an undisclosed amount.


South Yarra: 76 Tivoli Rd (Jeremy Fox, RT Edgar), passed in, $4.35m, 2 bidders

76 Wattle Rd, Hawthorn (Nick Franzmann, Marshall White), under hammer, $4.75m

One of the last auctions of the day (3.30pm), and this was always going to be a big one. Where in inner Melbourne can you buy just under 1800m2 of regular-shaped land with a good period home? The answer: 76 wattle Rd Hawthorn. And sad is this is to say, this property had no Heritage Overlay, so it could be possibly be pulled down. Nicholas Franzmann is the listing agent and is well supported by his team – he continues his 2015 run of listing and selling good-sized properties in Boroondara. Auctioneer Antony Woodley has the perfect setting for this auction in the tranquil front yard, and about 80 onlookers are keen to see what transpires. Opening with a “cheeky” crowd bid of $2m, Antony was keen to counter that with a vendor bid of $3.8m and take bids from there. Several minutes passes by then bidder one comes to the fore with a $50,000 rise. At a slow pace, the auction rambles on and is announced on the market at $4.386m about 25 minutes later, with two other bidders patiently taking part. The auction is strung along with lengthy pauses and minimal $1K bids at times, and finally it sells for $4.75m, almost $400K over reserve with two chinese parties in the end fighting it out. I look down at my watch and the time is 4.20pm – what a marathon! Good result though for the vendors, they should be pleased with their agent’s efforts here today and throughout the campaign.


Hawthorn: 76 Wattle Rd (Nick Franzmann, Marshall White), under hammer, $4.75m

33 Elm Grove, Brighton (Steve Smith, Marshall White), under hammer, $2.3m, 6 bidders

Even before the auction began you could feel the depth of interest, with large numbers gathering inside the front garden around the driveway and spilling into the street. No sooner had auctioneer, Peter Kakos, completed his spiel an opening bid of $1.615m was heard. The low start was just that – a start. From here the bidding started, with 2, 3, 4 and 5 bidders increasing the bids, sometimes by $20k, sometimes by $50k or more. At many stages the buyers were so keen, amounts were being offered by multiple bidders at the same time. The property was announced on the market at $2.060m and bidders bid strongly to around $2.2m where things started to slow down. Here Bidder 6 entered the competition, walking away the new owner for $2.3m.


Brighton: 33 Elm Grove (Marshall White), under hammer, $2.3m, 6 bidders

Agent Opinion: Are people waiting until Spring to sell, or are vendors preferring to sell quietly now?

Stefan_Whiting_largeStefan Whiting (Buxton, Brighton): “Vendors have traditionally waited until the popular Spring period to sell, however they have become more educated and realised that selling during Winter can give them an advantage as there is less selection available for buyers. During the cooler months there is limited supply but buyers continue to look, therefore we see a similar dollar value in Winter as we do in Spring.”