oc | Thursday 23rd January

In the words of Oscar Wilde any talk of the market’s death was greatly exaggerated. Wow what an incredibly powerful market day for $million+ homes and this was local not overseas buying strength.

Balwyn North: 60 Tuxen Street; Toby Parker of Hocking Stuart trying to see all the bids from a crowd of over 300. The story of the day. Huge crowds. Very strong Bidderman. Bought for $4,300,000

North: 60 Tuxen Street; Toby Parker of trying to see all the bids from a crowd of over 300. The story of the day. Huge crowds. Very strong Bidderman. Bought for $4,300,000

It is 6pm Saturday and the James Million Dollar-Plus Clearance rate for the 39 Auctions we attended today was 77 per cent and we have no late REIV results so could be higher.

Bidderman was well up at 3 bidders per auction and any talk from us of the last two weeks looking a bit soft has been well and truly proven as wishful thinking. 

The market of today is showing no signs of any weakness as proven by Bidderman and the $m+ clearance rate.

As a buying group we had nine auctions/buys on today and in my opinion we had an element of luck to buy the five that we did. 

Market Mood

The market according to Gerald Delany from Kay and Burton was astounding today. Rock solid says John Bongiorno from . from expanded even further with these facts and comments

Strongest day he has ever seen in his 20 years of real estate with 62 of Jellis Craig’s scheduled 75 auctions selling under the hammer or shortly after. Easily their biggest day in real estate dollar wise – ever. In fact at Jellis Craig 88 of real estate exchanged hands during the past week including around $7 million for Paterson St Hawthorn (Nick Elmore/Tom Aylward) and 5 Moore St Hawthorn (Paul Keane/Alastair Craig) was bought under the hammer for $6,435,000 with 6 bidders. This is 2007 bidder strength.  I think Scott made another salient point when he said it was local not overseas buying strength today.

We mentioned that the last two weeks were down in terms of Bidderman and that it may have been a turn or it maybe due to stock quality. Today seems to have proved it was stock quality. Today was as strong as the other 2010 Super Saturday (February 27 th), as strong as late last year and as strong as the December 2007 peak. It was all about quality and buyer depth and local not overseas buyers.

For every buyer there were two who missed out. Best evidenced by our  trips in the last fortnight to The Boulevard Aberfeldie for no result. 110 The Boulevard,  on the Maribynong river, was sold last week for $1.77m on a $1.2m+ quote with no recent sales to give any guidance. This week a similar knockdown 118 The Boulevard (Fabian Rosin of Nelson Alexander) which may have sold for a tad less actually had 4 bidders over $2 million to eventually  be bought by a most determined bidder for $2,189,500. 4 bidders over $2 million and 20% or $400,000 more than last week’s benchmark. It re-emphasizes the incredible power and momentum of the market on properties that are considered quality.

Stonnington the same – 16 Mercer Road Armadale (John Bongiorno Marshall White). $6,240,000. 4 bidders.

Bayside and Port Phillip was no different. Buy after buy. $2mllion, $3 million. 3 or 4 bidders.

Easter Reflections: You’re young and you maybe panicking. Please don’t give up!

youre youngNow that the Easter break is upon us, and the temporary madness of two Super Saturdays (wedged between Australia Day and Good Friday) is abating, it it a good time to have a quiet moment and reflect where you, as a buyer, are at. Even the most balanced and resolute buyers can be thrown off-track by the highs and lows of this year’s property market: it’s overwhelming (when lots of new stock comes onto the market); it’s intense (Super Saturday auctions on February 27 and March 27); and it’s emotional (especially the let-down feeling if you miss out at auction).

This piece aims to (to use the word of the moment) “recalibrate” your thinking back to where, for many, it perhaps should be. In particular I have focused on the young.

I want a home with solar heating – I want a home with no renos – I want a home with a courtyard – I want a home with a nice kitchen and pine floorboards. I want a home next to my latte shop. Fair enough.

But if I can shake your thoughts up a bit, that’s small beer and perhaps overly focused on a narrow set that may lead to a short-term fix but a longer-term problem or it may, in fact, lead to nothing at all – meaning, in this current market, you don’t buy.

Our question to our clients is the same on each property. It’s the same at the start of the process and it doesn’t change as we work through every one of our  pre-auction  and private sale meetings. That question is: what will make you and your family truly happy now and also truly happy in the longer term? What financial and emotional outcomes do you want to achieve when buying a home?

Since Christmas, we have had at least 10 families come and see us to help their kids get a leg into the housing market. Housing is the new private school fees; the new club membership that you introduce your child to. For many, if you don’t help your child into home ownership, then they ain’t getting into it anything short of Bairnsdale East and 2025. And please don’t sit there and say “I did it, why can’t they?” The current state of your wealth – most of it in your home – is one of the reasons you are wealthy but it’s also the main reason your children can’t easily get into the housing market without help.  But I digress. 

Buying any home at any level is PPP: Price, Property and Position. They are the three choice levers you, as a buyer, have some control over. How much, type of home and where? Price, Property, Position. 

You buy a home for emotional and financial happiness. Whether you think through it consciously or not, all your outcomes relate back to financial or emotional happiness. 

What should you buy? What makes you truly happy. It’s the Christian, Buddha, Muslim home philosophy all rolled into one. What really makes you truly happy now and in the future?

When buying a home, two things make you truly happy: good decisions and land.

Good decisions come from luck and goals (financially and emotionally). Bad decisions come from the same places: luck (lack of) and goals (or lack of).

You’re in your late 20’s and early 30’s and you need a home. Relationship pressures are usually the spur – your parents may be helping a bit and you have a good job.

Your name is Freddy and you are sitting down for a coffee with me, because your dad told you to.  

Freddy: I’ve got $500,000 and I want to buy a home in Hawthorn.

Mal: Nice meeting you, Freddy. Waiter. Bill, please.

Freddy: What are you doing?

Mal: I’m leaving because I can’t help you.

Freddy: I could buy an apartment

Mal: But you are getting married and said you wanted some kids. Space, Freddy, space!

Freddy: OK, what about going further out?

Mal: What to Officer or Coolaroo or Tecoma? Freddy, you don’t even know how to use your sat nav.

Freddy: You’re a snob and a very rude man, Mal. My father was right.

Mal: Freddy, homebuying is not about me, it’s about you. Today in 2010 you need to find $900,000. Sell your car; get your wife to get a second job; hold back on the kids and get that big-noting dad of yours to throw in a few bucks and show me the money. Freddy, your life is in Hawthorn or ; your friends are here, you’re happy here and, if you move out to Pakenham, then I’m afraid you may never come back. And I’m also afraid that is not where you want to be. Freddy, I’m telling you what you need to do. You need to fight, scrounge, cajole, weasel and push, push, push with all your might and you need to get as much money as you can manage together and you need to do it now.

Freddy: You’re an old fart, Mal. I don’t want those pressures. I don’t want to encroach on my lifestyle. I would rather be among the trees and without the pressures of an all-consuming mortgage.

Mal: Then, Freddy, that’s fine. If that is truly what you want, then, as Nick Renna says at all his auctions: I respect that and good for you.

Freddy: Who’s Nick Renna?

Mal: Don’t worry. Hey, Freddy. Does your wife Christine want to live in Upper Ferntree Gully among the trees? It’s a beautiful place.

Freddy: No, she wants to live in the inner city and she is applying the pressure to me big time. She wants kids, she wants culture and she wants Hawthorn. The only thing I’m not sure she wants is me! I hate this pressure.

Mal: This is good.

Freddy: Good? – are you a sadist as well, Mal?

Mal: It’s good because it shows you are getting some on what you want and what your family wants. Now we need to be smart. Do you really want to live in Outer Melbourne?

Freddy: Not really and not because I don’t like the areas. It’s just it’s a long way out from work and it’s away from my friends and family and it’s not where Christine feels comfortable.

Mal: OK, well, we have one P worked out and that is Position (sort of). Only I think it’s not going to be Hawthorn, initially,  because we agree an apartment is not a goer with kids on the horizon and we don’t have the cash for land and a home there. What is important for now and your future is that we look for as much land in an area we can afford.

Freddy: What, like a knockdown?

Mal: Well, not really, because quite often that can be overcapitalising financially. Have a look at this diagram – you should have bought either of the renovated ones for a little bit more.renovation costs

Freddy: So we go for big land?

Mal: No, it’s quality land – size isn’t everything, Freddy. See good land in can be 180 sqm and conversely bad land in Swan Hill can be 1500 sqm. Quality land is about the combination of position and size.

Freddy: But in Hawthorn a good block costs $1.6 million and I’ve only got $500,000.

Mal: Actually, right now it is more but, in time, if Hawthorn, Grace Park, the Urquhart Estate or Scotch Hill is what you want then you will be able to get it, but you need to start right. Let’s look at Alphington – only 10 minutes from Hawthorn (outside peak); you said Christine’s favourite sister lives there; it has a really good cosmopolitan feel and has a number of period homes that have that good land content. 

Freddy: I get what you said about land quality but not land content. What do you mean by land content?

Mal: See this chart. All three of these homes have land but only the period home on the right has good land content. Land (the capital growth driver) is a lot less in than older homes and even less in apartments – this example assumes you buy at market value all at the same price of say $900,000.land But it’s also true at $2,000,000 even $5,000,000.

Freddy: And as you keep saying, they don’t fight wars over homes, they fight wars over land.

Mal: True. Land goes up and buildings go down.  It’s all about demand and supply. That is where growth comes from and another real pointer to show where demand is, is the Chinese.

Freddy: The Chinese!

Mal: When the FIRB rules restricted overseas buyers to new apartments, they bought new apartments as they had no choice. Now last year with the FIRB rules changing and Chinese nationals having choices as to what they can buy in Australia, many are choosing land over apartments and that is evidenced by apartment prices remaining lackluster and land prices, especially in your Hawthorn area, going through the roof. The must surely be giving many people a message. Quality Land is a world language.

Freddy: So I’m getting the second P (Property) worked out. Type of home? Should have as much land content as possible.  What about the final P? Price. I’ve only got $500,000. That’s all the banks will lend and you reckon I need a million.

Mal: Freddy. You can do it. Make the lifestyle changes; get Dad and Mum to lend you some. Talk to the bank about a restructure and let’s see if we can’t find something a bit under a million and you put some sweat into the property – not a major reno but you fix it up a bit. I do think you can make $900,000 work if you want to.

Freddy: It’s a big ask. I want to go on holidays and my new Merc and ……..

Mal: You have choices. The choices you make now are what sets you up in your life. A new car and a holiday and its Frankston South or Aspendale and granite benchtops or none of these; hard yards and Alphington. One of these two has proven financial growth and for you emotional happiness, which you need for choices going forward eg better home, near better schools, a culture you prefer and seem comfortable with and the ol chestnut a happy wife = a happy life – the other has a two strikes policy.

Freddy: Two strikes?

Mal: If you are young and you buy a McMansion as home 1 and then home 2 in an  outer area new estate, then we feel that is where you will live for the rest of your life. Home 1 and Home 2 has to be on the ladder upwards if where you want to get to is where you are dreaming of now.

Freddy: I still think you’re rude and prejudiced but how will I convince the wife of this land content stuff?

Mal: Don’t worry, Freddy, my fourth wife said I was an expert on women and relationships. You start by telling them this …………………

Next market news in 3 weeks (school holidays and Easter)

Buy Well


Malvern: 39 Horace: Sold under the hammer for $1,670,000. Bidderman 5. Andrew Hayne asking the bidders to speak up over the crowd noise. Solid Result.

Malvern: 39 Horace: Sold under the hammer for $1,670,000. Bidderman 5. Andrew Hayne asking the bidders to speak up over the crowd noise. Solid Result.

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