Sense of urgency enters Melbourne property market

Not only has the market remained strong since resuming after Easter, there is now a renewed sense of urgency from buyers who feel that if they don’t buy now, they might miss out altogether.

On weekends just gone, we have seen clearance rates reported around the 75-80% mark. The number of properties on offer is lower, no doubt, yet these figures do indicate that the market is currently in favour of the seller.

Increasingly, for the good properties, offers are being made before auction, processes are competitive and some of the results are difficult to comprehend. There are a few softer results, yet these are for the lesser quality properties or those which have not been initially overquoted or not marketed well by an experienced local agent.

How long the strength in the market will last is hard to tell. A sudden increase in stock levels, combined with more interest rate rises, and the market could turn back just as quickly, or, as we have seen before, a continued tightening of stock levels. Sellers that can hang on will, as the costs associated with buying and selling in the market are higher than we have ever seen. It appears to us the average tenure of home ownership is increasing rather than decreasing.

It’s not a new phenomenon in any market, but it seems buyers are still more sensitive around price than they were 18 months ago. And many are sitting on the sidelines, with the belief the real ‘bargains’ will come in spring or even next year.

Sometimes a vendor just gets lucky, such as 67 Hope Street South Yarra, where the vendor had two neighbours vying for the keys, pushing the price around $2 million above the expected price for the property. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that the next similar property down the road will achieve the same result.

But there are markets within markets. If we look coastal, a suburb such as Ocean Grove is not faring anywhere nearly as strongly as it did, with around four times the amount of the property for sale (a great majority of this is off-market) than this time last year. The reason? Living in a ‘lesser’ COVID world makes the location not as attractive as it once was, with many people returning back to the office and the ‘Melbourne’ way of life. Increased interest rates/land tax payments on investment / second properties is also having an impact, making such properties a burden rather than the safe haven they once were.

There also appears to be a swing back to ‘land sales’, with buyers having a renewed confidence in building new or developing. The shortage in housing stock and government initiatives to lift this have helped in this way. We don’t see the same level of confidence in homes requiring renovation. This could be due to increased costs in materials/fixtures etc and the shortage of tradespeople to do the work.

For buyers, we believe due diligence remains important. This includes considering not just how the property will suit you now but also its future potential as well as any limitations it may have, for you and if you were to sell it in the future.

If the property meets your needs, then it’s still the right time to try and buy it.  There is no right market: we believe it is about buying the right house.


Some of the better properties currently on the market; an architect’s view

6 Stanley Street South Yarra – Carla Fetter/David Sciola, Jellis Craig

12 Warburton Road Camberwell – Geordie Dixon/Peter Vigano, Jellis Craig

22 Crisp Street Hampton – Angus Graham/Nick Sinclair, Hodges


‘Off-market’ Properties:

  • Period family home, 4-3-3, pool, ~906sqm, Toorak – circa $5.5m
  • DF single level fully renovated Victorian, 4-2.5-3, ~500sqm, Prahran – circa $5m+
  • Cal Bung, 4-2-2, pool, ~863sqm, Camberwell – circa $2.7m
  • Edwardian Family home, 4-2-1, north rear, ~930sqm, Balwyn – circa $3.6m
  • Single Fronted Victoria, 2-1, west rear, ~197sqm, Prahran – circa $1.6m
  • Brick Edwardian, 2-1, ~170sqm, Prahran – circa $1.3m
  • Family home w basement, 5-3.5-3, ~780sqm, Brighton – circa $6.1m
  • Contemporary single level, 5-2.5-2, pool, ~960sqm, Brighton East – circa $5.2m
  • TH w basement, 3-2.5-2 plus study, Brighton East – circa early $2m
  • Updated TH 4-2-4, bay views, near amenities, Sandringham – circa early $3m
  • As new modern large family home, 5-4-4, pool, Sandringham – circa $4.6m
  • Updated 80s home, 3 bed plus study, ~650sqm, Beaumaris – circa $2.35m
  • Land to develop, ~890sqm, corner, NE rear, Beaumaris – circa mid $2ms
  • Period weatherboard, 3-2-2OSP, renovated, Bentleigh – circa $1.8m


Auction Spotlights:

A crowd of close to 50 people witnessed the Jellis Craig auction of 42 Westbourne Street Prahran. 2 strong bidders fought it out for a well presented single fronted light filled freestanding Victoria, offering 2 beds, 2 baths, 2 living areas and off-street parking. A tightly held pocket in Melbourne’s southeast, within walking distance to the Hawksburn Village. Bidding started slowly, but soon became a race in two eventually selling for $1.845m.  (Quoted $1.6m-$1.76m, called on the market at $1.760m)


The fundamentally single level 3-4 bed, 2 bath, DLUG home at the rear of two at 194a Bluff Road Sandringham, offers flexibility for both families and downsizers.  Well oriented for north light, the home has been updated, yet offers further opportunities over time if desired. Quoted at $1.7-1.75m the auction attracted a good crowd and plenty of hopeful bidders. 4 mainly young family bidders quickly pushed the price to $1.9m where the home was called on the market. First one and then another downsizer entered the action and with clearly deeper pockets eliminated the original bidders. Another 30 plus bids eventually saw bidder 6 outlast all others and secure the property for a strong $2.21m.