oc | Tuesday 21st January

Hope you weren’t expecting an easy buy in Toorak today! Clearance rates right up there – prices improving but most still down on this time last year.


At 6pm Saturday, the James Auction $m+ Auction Clearance Rate stands at a strong-for-sellers 78% of the 23 auctions we attended today.

raw_Tough in Toorak forToday, four clear messages came out of the results:

  • The market is very fickle at the moment – up one week and down the next.
  • If the market perceives the property is good, there are multiple buyers and a good price will be paid.
  • The market in Stonnington today was bordering on white-hot.
  • Right now, the higher you go the stronger it is (ceteris paribus).

Let’s look at some results:

15-17 Irving Road – 950 sq metre of land with a bulldozer home.  It was a who’s who of selling agents (Jock Langley, Andrew Hayne, Justin Long and Richard Mackinnon), land identities (Peter Gibson and crew) and many interested onlookers. Auctioneer from “kind of” repeated the result of from RT Edgar (Oct 08 – 23 Irving Road – 860 sqm  – five bidders – $4.9 million), with 15 Irving selling for $4.6 million with four bidders. Talking with Richard Mackinnon from afterwards, he pointed out that both were bulldozable homes and Oct land was auction-valued at $5703 per sq metre, whereas today land was auction-valued at $4842 per sq metre. So, yes, the market seems to be hotting up in the ultra top-end (eg $2.5 million-plus); however, prices have still come off again since last year in a number of cases.

An hour later, 3a Irving Road was re-auctioned by Castran and Gilbert, having failed at auction last year at $3.3 million reserve and it was sold post-auction at a tad under last year’s reserve by Tim Brown.

Ordering in a coffee and then moving another few hundred metres, we saw 9 St James, a great little cul-de-sac property, attract a big crowd but some strange auction tactics with a low pass-in and eventual sale believed to be around $4 million or $4926 per sq metre; again, a strongish – but not as high as might have been expected – result. Rae Tomlinson was the managing agent and conducted a strong post-auction negotiation process.

Taking a breather and some lunch, I was able to ring around colleagues, some who were bidding and some who were watching, and the same comment rang true. If the market liked it, there was multiple bidding, including nine bidders at Field St McKinnon,  four bidders at Benson Street Richmond, five bidders at Tooronga Road , three bidders at Mernda Road Kooyong, five bidders at Kardinia Road Glen Iris and 78 bids from five bidders at 21 Lambeth Ave .

I finished the day witnessing a throwback to 2007 days with seven bidders “going crazy” and paying $1.655 million for 36 McKinley Malvern. I’m not saying the buyer was crazy, just the strength and depth of the bidding was very strong. This house did need a $500,000-plus renovation and, after the price paid, that makes this a $2.2 million home in McKinley, which is in excess of sales in previously stronger years of completed, fully renovated Victorians. Still, the sellers are extremely nice and decent people and deserved a break to go their way.

That was Stonnington and that was the upper end. Bayside and Boroondara didn’t have as many high-end auctions and, from what we could see buying homes in those areas, was slightly easier than Stonnington. So, is Toorak leading the charge back? Only a scallywag would say that but the past two weeks of slightly quieter results have been given a real jolt and we are now back in February 2009 days as far as strength is concerned.

Of course, stock levels and quality are still the key. What was good has now been bought and, with precious little coming on beyond next week with Passover and Easter, buyers will need to be patient for a month or so if they haven’t found their dream home.

are really making me think at the moment and we have completed a specialist article below on what is really happening at the top end of the apartment market.

Adam reviews a Nonda Katsalidis house in North in his spot and this week we put of Marshall White under the microscope and hit him around with a wet flannel. Some of you have given feedback saying why not ask some hard questions about quoting and expressions of interest shenanigans. We will, and we already have agreement from some of the key agency directors in Melbourne to answer the tougher questions around the middle of this year – again unedited. However, our plan for the next few months is to continue to show what we think we all can learn from quality selling agents. While there are certain things all buyers must be careful of when dealing with selling agents, there is still solid information that selling agents can provide that is not related to a property they are representing the seller on.

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