oc | Thursday 23rd January

Buyers sit on the fence, hands in pockets.

Like many auctions this weekend, a lot of standing around, not doing much. EAST, 9 Lewes Drive: Passed-in at $2,500,000 with two bidders. Anthony Grimwade ()

At 6pm on Saturday the James Clearance rate for $M+ was 57% on the 30 auctions we attended. That was well down on last week’s cameo of excitement, but understandable giving the quality change between this week and last week at the Top End.

Bidderman, our demand indicator, was 1.5 bidders per auction. However the quality of the offerings was one of the lowest this year.

While there were a few volcanoes (4 or more bidders), what was more interesting was that 1 in 3 homes were ducks meaning they didn’t get a bid a all. We think that was a confirmation of the market reaction to this weekend’s lack of Top End quality.

In fact, only 1 in 5 of $M+ homes monitored this weekend sold under the hammer.  The rest sold before or soon after – or didn’t sell at all. That’s an Under the Hammer Clearance Rate of 20%.

What that means is that in this current market buyers need a lot more than just a ‘hand up in the air and hope’ strategy to buy homes well.

Market Summary:

There were plenty of auctions at the lower levels, e.g. at or around a , but many lacked any WOW factor.

A number of the key selling agents were off this weekend on holidays and, as with many buyers, they seem to have turned their attention to pursuits other than buying and selling.

It was hard to find a over $2 million up for auction. The only $3 million plus auction we saw in Toorak was at 68 Hopetoun Road with Steve Abbott of Jellis Craig – an art deco that seems to get sold every 12 months (see report below).

The median prices came out this week and rightly confirmed what the market has been saying for some time: Prices are weaker.

This year to date has been a positive one for buyers with reduced competition, more choice and lower prices. On the flip side the buying opportunities are only such if you take them (a Steve Abbott auction line).

Next week, there are almost no auctions and not too much the week after.

Post Easter, as we said last week, may or may not be a different story. But our feeling is that quality choice will dry up and the big issue will become finding a rose amongst the thorns, the pass-ins and the stales. If those roses are hard to find then prices for them will firm as new quality drops with discretionary vendors adopting a wait and see strategy.

What Sold Well – Volcanoes with 4 or more bidders

  • Albert Park, 62 Barrett St – Peter Simmons – Nicely renovated Period Home – $1,575,000
  • Hawthorn, 23 Falmouth St – – Nicely renovated Period Home – $1,330,000
  • Hawthorn, 11 College St – Richard Earle – Nicely renovated Period Home – $1,409,000
  • , 36 Maitland Ave – – Land site – $1,345,000
  • Toorak, 80 Grange Rd – Rodney Morley – Nicely renovated Period Town Residence – $1,500,000

$3M+ market: Overall, the high end at $3 million+ appears as weak as it has been for 12 months. Although  a shortage of new quality stock post Easter has put some zing back into the market as some buyers are forced to act.  Growing kids, divorce, lifestyle, whatever cannot wait for everyone indefinitely. Go to our $3m+ report to see most of the last weeks’ 10+ sales.

Michael Armstrong, Kay & Burton, : “I think we can expect a fairly normal market post Easter.  Market conditions are settled and stock levels looking forward to May/June are lighter than what we’ve experienced in the past couple of months.  Vendors have had to adjust their expectations in recent times and buyers with long term views have realised that the past few weeks have presented them with good opportunities. The better quality offerings will continue to attract competition and alternatively  buyers will continue to deal harshly with those vendors (and agents) who price properties incorrectly.”

, 2 Marine Pde: On a bit of a rollercoaster day, it was apt to have the Scenic Railway at Luna Park as the backdrop of this Claudio Perruzza (Biggin Scott) auction. Passed in, $1,850,000, no bidders

Biggest Sale we covered: 68 Hopetoun Rd, Toorak, Steve Abbott (Jellis Craig); after auction, $3,050,000, 3 bidders
“This art deco property with Heritage One (HO1) overlay was looking for a committed buyer to make it a home. A vendor bid of $2,800,000 got the proceedings underway and the first bidder entered the race with a bid of $2,850,000. A second vendor bid of $2,900,000 signalled that the bidding was still some way off from the desired sale price. Auctioneer Steven Abbott wouldn’t entertain an increment of $5,000, demanding at least $10,000 to stay in the race. Despite keen bidding, this property was passed in at $3,020,000 but this was just the start of the negotiations. Bought after for $3,050,000.” (Debbie McTaggart)

Biggest Pass In we covered: 12 Dudley Pde, , Doug McLauchlan (Marshall White); passed in $2,000,000, no bidders
“Doug McLauchlan took centre stage in the very big, leafy backyard of this great property and looked ready for action. Assisted by his Marshall White team, Mr McLauchlan explained that the circa 1923 home had been in the same family for a massive 72 years. But even the sentimentalists amongst us in the crowd weren’t ready to put their hands in the air and bid. Mr McLauchlan opened and closed on a vendor bid of $2,000,000.” (Jen Milligan)

Auction Video: Architect Adam heads to sunny Hawthorn this week to witness a ripper auction at 23 Falmouth St, a Marshall White property with auctioneer Hamish Tostevin.  Click on the live action.

Big Issue and Weekend Reflections: Coming back after the Easter holidays.

Two Weeks Off: Marketnews will be on holiday for two weeks with our next Marketnews on the 7th of May. A number of agents are talking up the 21st and 28th of May as possible Super Saturdays (as buyers let’s hope so). For James Buyer Advocates it will be business as usual.

We Only Buy Homes and have a safe Easter break:


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