oc | Monday 24th February

In the trenches: report on million-dollar Melbourne

Canterbury, 19 Rubens: Would you believe it? Missed by that much. Actually Richard James of Jellis Craig does not miss all that often. Four bidders. Bought for $3.301 million. Good result for agent Daniel Bradd as well.

, 19 Rubens: Would you believe it? Missed by that much. Actually Richard James of Jellis Craig does not miss all that often. Four bidders. Bought for $3.301 million. Good result for agent Daniel Bradd as well.

It is 6pm Saturday and the James Auction Clearance Rate on the 32 $1m+ properties we attended and reported on today was 72 per cent.

The REIV’s clearance rate was declared at 82 per cent but they are missing around 200 and our guess is the clearance rate has dropped below 80 per cent for the first time in a long time.

raw_flavourBut, hey, there were 1000 auctions – it’s the Grand Final, the Melbourne Cup and the Masters of 2009 all rolled into one for selling agents. This is it – the big one; and things went pretty well for sellers and not so good for buyers who didn’t buy and were hoping for a little sign of decline.

What’s Hot x 2

  • Family Homes in Boroondara and Stonnington in $1m to $3m range.
  • 166 Mont Albert Road Canterbury – seven bidders – $4.01 million.
    James Auction Report: James Tostevin started slowly, taking a $2.95 million opening bid in front of a big crowd of around 80, all nicely spaced out around the tennis court. Seven bidders later, in what seemed like an eternity on the last few bids, saw the hammer come down a bit gingerly at $10,000 over $4 million.
  • 20 Callantina Road Hawthorn– five bidders – $6.125 million.
    James Auction Report: About 130 people saw this auction open with a genuine bid of $4.9 million. There were five bidders and the property was on the market at $5.65 million. The eventual buyer was a determined bidder who stayed strong throughout the auction process and bought the property for $6.125 million.

What’s Not Hot

  • This weekend: surprisingly, Malvern East’s Gasgoine Estate was dead as a doornail today, with three pass-ins from three homes (0 per cent clearance); as was , with only one from five selling, or 20 per cent clearance rate, but everywhere else in Stonnington was very strong.
  • Bayside was definitely weaker than Stonnington or Boroondara. In Bayside, six out of 11 $1 million-plus auctions we attended sold, or 54 per cent clearance rate. In Stonnington and Boroondara, it was 16 out of 20, or 80 per cent for $1 million-plus homes.
  • There are still some cheaper homes in Bayside. is cheap compared to and Hawthorn.
  • PPP (Price, Property, Position) ADVICE from our AUCTION REPORTERS
    If you hate the beach, love traffic and have got plenty of money, stay looking for your double-fronteds in Armadale and Hawthorn. The only trouble is the coffee shops are full in between open times with fellow depressed non-buyers; oh and Maserati dealers looking for selling agents (that was unfair). No, no, no, young men go south and take your woman with you – show her a good time at the Brown Cow at Hampton and, while you are gazing into her eyes nodding that, yes, you really do get “Happy Wife – Happy Life”, drift off into the clouds and dream about your mortgage lender’s expression when he realises you’re not going near your borrowing limit to buy your dream home.

De Ja Vu – Not Really – 2008 and 2009

19 Chatsworth Avenue auctioned pre-Melbourne Cup Weekend 2008 and then again today.

James Auction Report 2008: “Energetic comments from Leigh Hallimore didn’t draw any bids, despite his offer to take any bids prior to his opening and closing .” Quote was $3,2 million. Sold sometime later for around $2.5 million.
James Auction Report 2009: Two bidders joined in on top of the opening vendor bid of $2.6 million from Jason Gill of Hodges. Passed in at $2.89 million and sold after at $2.95 million. Almost a $500,000 improvement on when it sold late last year.

As this is the big one for 2009, we have focused this edition on results, results, results. What is really happening out there in the trenches? From that, you should be able to work out what will happen in the run-up to . Here are our auction reporter summaries and these are their stories.

Gina – Bayside (attended auctions in Prahran, and South Melbourne)

  • Very quiet and quite flat atmosphere at auctions.
  • None of these auctions sold and there were few bids (one bidder made one bid at Prahran, none at Albert Park and one bidder made one bid at South Melbourne).
  • Most of the crowd at all three auctions seemed to be neighbours – most came on foot and didn’t hang around to see auction results.
  • No Chinese bidders at any of these auctions.

Annette (four auctions – Hawthorn, Malvern, Malvern and West)

  • Good crowds – 70, 80, 100, 130.
  • Good numbers of bidders – 6, 5, 5 (but just one bidder and one bid at St Kilda West).
  • One Asian bidder at Claremont (but wasn’t the buyer). Largest presence of Asian people at these auctions was at Callantina but they were not involved in the bidding.
  • Crowd at Park St, St Kilda West was a “younger crowd” but it also had least atmosphere – quite sombre, people were keeping hands in pockets.
  • Crowd chatty and strong bidding and crowd interest at Claremont and Stanhope. Also big crowd interest at Callantina but it did sell for $6 million.

Jenny (two auctions – Beaumaris and Sandringham)

  • Mixed atmosphere and results. Beaumaris had a chatty crowd but no bids. Lovely setting – held around the pool, people in crowd commented that they thought sunny weather and lovely setting would put people in the mood but it didn’t appear to. Passed in on the vendor bid.
  • Sandringham – first time this house had been offered in 50 years, so generated a lot of interest. Crowd seemed buzzy and genuinely happy when family bought the house. Two bidders.

David (Bayside – Brighton and Hampton)

  • Five auctions, plus one sold before.
  • Four passed in.
  • Small crowds.
  • Flat overall.

Julia (five auctions – Hawthorn East x 2, Canterbury, Malvern East, Malvern)

  • Big crowds – 125, 60, 100+, 130, 200.
  • Not huge numbers of bidders – one at Victoria Rd, four at Rubens Grove, three at Finch St, none at Central Park Rd and one at Deanlea Court.
  • Of the four bidders at Rubens Grove, two were Asian and they were the final two bidders after the other two dropped out. The bidding got quite aggressive between these two and one bidder (who was eventual buyer) was very keen to buy it.
  • With the other auctions, all felt buzzy at the start and like they would build into something big but then never did. There were four pass-ins and only Rubens Grove sold under the hammer.

Adam (three auctions – Balwyn North x 2, Hawthorn)

  • Big crowds – 80 at each.
  • Bidders – not many but they were quick-fire auctions. There were probably more bidders there than bid but they didn’t get a chance to get their hands up.
  • Didn’t see any Asian bidders
  • An anecdote: because it was such a big auction day today, all of the crew and team working were supplied with bottles of water and snack packs to keep their energy up throughout the day.

Tom (two auctions – Toorak and Elsternwick – a tale of two cities)

  • No real interest at Toorak but seven bidders at Elsternwick.
  • Summary from Tom: “On Saturdays, I do auction reporting to get out in the fresh air and see the buzz of different parts of Melbourne, the people, the houses, the streets. I have always had an interest in houses and have a special interest in Californian Bungalows and 1930s Art Deco. Since March, the property market has been on fire with prices that defy my bookkeeper’s conservatism. The market seems to be back where it was in the last half of 2007 and I am surprised at how competitive it is at auctions these days. Well located family homes in the inner suburbs under $2 million is a very strong market – they never seem to go out of fashion.”

17 Regent St Elsternwick
Renovator – great spot and great bones.

James Auction Report: In front of 80 people, an optimistic bid of $800,000 started this auction. Lots of bidding and lots of entertainment here – seven bidders and the property sold for $1.39 million. In Hawthorn, this would have pushed $1.8 to $1.9 million.

HISTORY LESSON – rewind one year to same pre-Melbourne Cup weekend 2008

James Market Insight, 25 October 2008:
At 5pm Saturday, just two of the 13 auctions we attended today have sold under the hammer, with another two or three expected to be sold overnight.

Here are three quality home auctions from 25 October 2008 – they would have all sold well today.

85 St Vincent Place Albert Park:
James Auction Report 25 Oct 2008: Biggest crowd I’ve seen this year to hear auctioneer Andrew Macmillan put on his first-rate routine: he starts quietly, forcing the crowd across the road to move to him, and he made some very humorous comments. So I, as usual, enjoyed the show, as did everybody else, except, at time of leaving, the owner. Class property, class auctioneer – no result yet.

28 Thanet St Malvern
James Auction Report 25 Oct 25th: “The opening bid from the crowd was well below the quote. Another bidder made one bid and then another offered a smaller increase, which wasn’t accepted. The property was passed in to the highest bidder – not sure this will sell unless there is major movement from either buyer or seller.”

1 Fairlie Court South Yarra
James Auction Report 25 Oct 2008: “Auctioneer Jeremy Fox started by saying this home was worth $5 million and then called out a $4.5 million opening vendor bid. There was no response from the crowd.”

Lots more detail below on each auction in our Market Wraps and NO MARKET NEWS NEXT WEEK on the Melbourne Cup Long Weekend. We return the week after for the run to Christmas.

Buy Well


Thank you for a huge effort today from many people:

A big thank you to all our auction reporters and auction and sale coordinators Melinda Brown and Simone Clarke – it is not easy dealing with grumpy advocates each week and getting a wide coverage of million-dollar-plus auctions up in a timely manner on a Saturday night. But you do it and do it well. Thank you.

Thank you also for the continuing support we receive from selling agents Marshall White, Benmac, Kay and Burton, RT Edgar, Hocking Stuart, Noel Jones, Biggin and Scott, JP Dixon, Jellis Craig to name a few. We published a strong article last week, which we 100 per cent stand by and we were challenged on a number of points during the week,. It was robust but polite discussion and no agent pressured us to stop writing opinion pieces and no agent stopped us reporting their results (good or bad) today. Thank you.

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