An interesting weekend in Boroondara. Although the weather was mainly clear, it was shoes off at most house inspections. The overall clearance rate was 67%, which is not too bad. I went to three auctions, and all three passed in. Although not without their shortcomings, none of these three houses were poor properties by any stretch.
59 Harcourt Street Hawthorn East (Hamish Tostevin, Marshall White) – only one bidder here yet it did sell after for $1,690,000. This result was about right, and the signature street address probably underpinned this.
23 Hilda Crescent Hawthorn (Belinda Anderson, Fletchers) – has been on the market for some time (I first went through this one before Christmas). Grace Park address and good land with preferred northern rear orientation. House needed work and the position was fringe – close to rail line and tennis courts. I was little surprised to see the property quoted in The Weekly Review last week for $3.4m plus. That is a courageous ask, I mused. Property passed in without a bid at auction and now remains for private sale for $3.3m.
12 Goodall Street Hawthorn (Steve Burke, Jellis Craig) – a fine period Italianate mansion which has been updated well, yet the position and land size probably held it back a tad. Quoted $4m plus and was passed in at $3.75m. A later offer was given a fair bit above $4m. Surprised the vendor hasn’t taken that – I am sure I am not the only one. Irrespective of this, Steve Burke and Andrew Willkie have had a busy month, selling 11 out of 12. 35 Broadway Camberwell only a few weeks ago was one of these, which was another prestige period home on good land.
In summary, if properties are quoted at a level that buyers feel is fair value, they will turn up and bid.
One such property was 5 Loch Street in Surrey Hills – Hocking Stuart team John Clarkson (one of Market News favourites – then again you would have to be a pretty hard marker not to like John) and Anne Mackie had this, with the effervescent Glen Coutinho conducting another interesting auction. (A lot of prospective auctioneers could do worse than watch Glen on a weekend and pick up a few pointers.) Opening bid, then one more bid and, bang, property was on the market. Now that is what I call a fair auction and the seller would have to be happy, selling $100,000 over reserve.
Another interesting observation is that smaller properties (that is in the early $1 millions) all sold at auction in Hawthorn / Hawthorn East today. This section of the market would have to be the strongest in Boroondara.
On matters architectural I was asked in my travels this week, “ Adam, in house planning terms, what makes good flow?” Good question. Generally speaking, for flow to be good through a house, the pathway needs to be direct, and interrupted by changing directions or through rooms. I have seen a number of houses lately where the kitchen is centrally located within the house footprint, and by and large, the house just doesn’t work. Sure, it is cost effective (services are generally already in place) but whenever you visit a renovated house, look beyond the new Caesar stone benchtops and Miele appliances, and ask yourself, “Is this located well for the scheme of everyday family life? Can I see the backyard when the kids are playing? Is the area light and bright? How good is the ventilation?”
Speaking of kitchens, I saw a great one this week at 9 College Parade Kew. This property is listed with Ross Savas and Sam Wilkinson of Kay and Burton, quoting high $2m. Highlight for me was the island bench – just about perfect in terms of size and styling – and I liked the way that artwork was integrated and part of the “public” space – a welcome change from the cliché of an area dominated by a series of cupboards, chrome doorhandles and glass splashbacks.
Called in to a café that has been on my radar for a few months now, and that is The Quartermaster’s Store in Kew. No, this is not High Street or Cotham Road Kew, and, unless you have been cutting through suburban side streets, it is unlikely you have come by it, as it located on the corner of Edgevale Road and Fitzwilliam Street. Picture your typical suburban milk bar (not too many of these around now) and that was this café in a former life. The Quartermaster’s Store is not huge, but it is easy to park near and drop in to. Romcaffe is the blend of choice here (imported beans from Italy) and my ¾ latte was light-bodied and hit the spot nicely – ideal for a midday stopgap. Good to see local shops like this alive and having a go – hope all goes well for the owners.
Until next week,