oc | Wednesday 22nd January

Market Mojo returns – but is it a One Day Wonder?

“Oh Yeah Sure Buddy - you are joking, aren't you?” Sold for an undisclosed amount, $500,000 over reserve. 4 bidders. 32 Warncliffe. David Oster.

At 6pm on Saturday the James Clearance rate for $M+ was 71% on the 34 auctions we attended. WOW – 71%, a big change from last month.

Bidderman, our indicator of bidders per auction, was at 1.8. So on our biggest $M+ auction weekend so far this year, when you would expect buyers to thin out and Bidderman to drop, it actually went up on the trend of the last few weeks.

It may be just one day but it was strong out there this weekend. For the first time since late February our advocates reported feeling feeling genuine price pressures whilst bidding.

Market Summary: The big question is whether this is a statistical blip or whether we are a seeing the trend return towards a balanced market. If so, why?

  1. Buyers feel a little better than they did last month and confidence came back into the market as a result. Our enquiry rates are certainly up.
  2. The overall quality of homes on offer was up on previous weeks and they were plentiful in number. We saw lots of 700+ James Home Rating (quality) homes go to auction this weekend.
  3. Last week as buyers looked into the future they saw that the cupboard of  post Easter offerings was bare – and so they adjusted their game plan accordingly.

Whether this is a blip or a trend change will largely be determined by what discretionary sellers do in May. If they are encouraged by this weekend’s results to put their properties onto the market, then prices may stay softer than last year. If those sellers stay out and demand continues as is, then the overhang of stales will begin to be mopped up and the good buying conditions of the last months (price and ) will dissipate.

This weekend, again, we saw the overall power of the Melbourne market and the power of demand and supply. There is an underlying strength in Melbourne homebuying (based in immigration and lack of homes), that has slackened off in recent times as buyers become more circumspect with concerns about overseas events, jobs, and who knows what exactly. As well there has been plenty of choice. BUT as soon as there is a hint of a quality stock shortage the market responds, particularly with regards to well-located quality family homes, on and of a period flavour. And it responds strongly.

More insights

  • It wasn’t just the consistent $1m to $1.5m range holding up its end in isolation, this was also the strongest single week this year for $3m+ buys.
  • It was the second strongest clearance rate of the year, despite an almost Super Saturday (140 $M+ Auctions – Inner East and Bayside)
  • We saw consistent bidding across the board, with over 75% of monitored auctions having at least one bidder.
  • The big question going forward after our Easter market break is whether nervous sellers will re-enter the market on one week’s good showing.
  • Prices are generally down on this time last year (there are exceptions), so good homes are attractive right now. And while new choice may become limited,  some existing choice (overhang) still remains.
  • Top End rentals are getting considerably more rent than expected as supply in relation to demand is tightening. This observation from two agents needs more examination at a later date. We’re interested in how widespread this may be, why it is happening and what effects it may have on the buying market. (Are borderline investors perhaps re-entering the Top End?).

Wild and Wooly - the weather that is, not Rob Vickers-Willis. Toorak 3 Denham. Passed In $2,010,000. 2 bidders.

The $3m+ Market’s strongest 2011 week so far (some examples):

South Yarra 43 Marne St: Nicole Gleeson of Kay and Burton: Bought well over the $12,000,000 quote range, putting Domain Precinct land values at $8,000 per sqm for the bigger blocks.

Hawthorn 51 Berkeley St with Tim Blackett also of Kay and Burton: Over $7,000,000 on Scotch Hill for a good home with tennis court that needs some floor plan reworking.

While still in Hawthorn, Mr Nice Guy and the Very Effective Tim Picken of Jellis Craig got away the quinella with 25 Mary St (modern home in Grace Park) being bought for a credible $4,300,000 and 1 Hilda (period home in Grace Park) for $2,800,000. Both prices were a little down on ambitious asks but they were nonetheless solid prices for what they were.

Kew – Was it us who cried out the death of the formula – i.e. new build, small block and overpriced? Well technically we are still credible, because these were in neighbouring Kew: with 21 Macartney (Walter Dodich of Marshall White) and 5 Mawson (Peter Dixon of Jellis Craig) both selling at auction today for $4 million-ish, the death of this market may be a little exaggerated. It was only two sales, but they were biggies.

Malvern and –  50 Wattle Valley, Canterbury (Duane Wolowiec and James Tostevin) sold under the hammer for a strong $3,465,000; 54 Stanhope Malvern with Rae Tomlinson also under the hammer for $3,170,000 and 13 Rubens Grove Canterbury with Fletcher’s Jeremy Desmier bought before for over $3,000,000.

Bayside has recorded a few $3M+ sales as well, with 29 Bay Street, Brighton (Bert Stewart of Buxton) selling post auction over $3,550,000. The final result put north-facing Golden Mile land (no view) at more than $3,200 per sq metre. That is a “steady as she goes price” similar to last year’s Golden mile (no view) buys. Another $3m+ sale with a strange twist (all non bidders asked to leave auction) was at 40 Drake Brighton (Ian Jackson of Kay and Burton).

Toorak While on land sales, 1073 Malvern Road (Justin Long) passed in at $3,225,000 and a reserve was offered which was not taken up by the pass-in bidder. Two new bidders appeared and a second auction took place resulting in a sale well over the pass-in figure.

For full details each week of what is happening in the Top End $M+ market see our regular $3-Million-Plus Market Reports.

Round the Grounds – Price this year v last year and a word on Post Easter stock levels.

Malvern John Bongiorno, Marshall White: “Price is a little softer on certain homes but on high quality homes they are still rocking, granted buyers are more discerning. Stock levels are not as strong as last year. Rentals at the top end are exploding in the middle and top end market. Big news is rents have increased, possibly making investments more attractive at the higher end. There is such a shortage of homes to rent.”

Caulfield Rodney Morley, Woodards: “I think the negativity means less stock is coming on in May and Winter. Everybody wants records that are not coming at the moment. The market is definitely softer than this time last year in price. Buyers (then) were buying anything. Right now, buyers do not feel that urgency. No question that the market is softer.”

Brighton Bert Stewart, Buxton: “I think the market is around 10% down on some top end homes. Stock levels and therefore buyer choice after Easter are not looking good.”

Geoff Hall, Noel Jones: “Prices are down around 10% on this time last year, with some exceptions for quality homes, and stock post Easter is just not coming on like it did last year.”

Hawthorn Richard Winneke, Jellis Craig: “Big drop in new buyer enquiry this week. Probably due to the holiday factor but it was a noticeable drop. Rentals are definitely getting more than I expected price-wise and this may stimulate into Top End homes. East of Burke Road (Camberwell and Canterbury) has not performed as well as Hawthorn and Kew this year to date. I think prices are still relatively solid around that early million dollar mark but softer higher up.”

Carlton Tom Roberts, Nelson Alexander:  “Stock levels Post Easter are tightening with only the sellers that need to sell going to market. Good homes still going exceptionally well but those results are in amongst the not so good going not quiet so well as last year. Prices are down a smidgen.”

Playing for Keeps here. Big 150 plus crowd. 29 McKinnon, Carlton. 3 bidders. Bought for a whopping $1,417,000 (462 sqm). We thought it was justified, but it was still big. Nick Renna, Peter Sinclair and Melissa Ryan of Hocking Stuart

Biggest Sale we covered: 21 Macartney Ave, Kew; Walter Dodich (Marshall White): After auction, undisclosed around $4,000,000
“Being in the coveted Sackville area this auction attracted a large crowd of about 100. The crowd were well spread out and even blocked the road in front of the as they heard auctioneer Walter Dodich open proceedings. The auction began in Mr Dodich’s own words with a ‘traditional’ vendor bid at $3,700,000 as no one was willing to start things off. However this was the trigger that allowed two bidders to start the battle off for the . Initially there were meant to be three bidders however the third bidder couldn’t get his bid in as he always cut off by the other two. When he finally got one in there was applause from the crowd and a cry of joy from the bidder. As the auction went on, the climax built and the crowd held their breath as the price rose and rose yet there was still no indication from Mr Dodich about whether the was on the market or not. At $4,000,000 Mr Dodich passed the in and after lengthy negotiations the was bought after for an undisclosed amount.” (Josh Bong)

Biggest Pass in we covered: 72 Kerferd St, , John Bongiorno (Marshall White); Passed in, $2,800,000, no bidders
“With 300 people having viewed this property and 100 or so crowded into the garden of this Gascoigne Estate home, auctioneer John Bongiorno was confident of a sale. But it was not to be with a vendor bid of $2,800,000 the only one of the day and the property passed in. However, with one interested party heading inside, it may not be long before this stunning property is sporting a ‘sold’ sign.” (Debbie McTaggart)

The Big Issue: Architect Adam and Klarity Kris discuss whether they believe buying conditions will be as good post-Easter as they are now.

Auction Video: This week Jen Milligan, our Market News Co-ordinator, fills in for our advocates who were busy with other auction commitments. 15 Epping St, Malvern East, a BenMac auction with Iain Carmichael. Click on the live action auction video.

Buyer Masterclass: Conditions are great for homebuyers – so where are they?

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