oc | Thursday 20th February

It was 50/50 today for $1m+ properties this weekend – but the $4m+ market has rediscovered some of its early Spring legs!

I love you darling and thanks for buying this nice little $6 million beachfronter. 2 Mytton Grove, Brighton. Greg Costello (RT Edgar), under the hammer, $6,050,000, 2 bidders.

At 6pm on Saturday, the James Clearance Rate for $M+ was 50% on the 28 auctions we attended. What made the difference between those that sold and those that didn’t? As with most of this year’s market, quality properties priced to market sold, while those off the boil on price and quality didn’t.

The , our indicator, was 1 bidder per auction. There was only one volcano (4+ bidders) out of the 28 auctions we attended and more than a third were duck auctions (no bidders). This has been this way for most of Spring and a clear indicator that we are now in a falling market, price-wise.

Market Summary

Timing: We know we shouldn’t raise the Santa stuff just yet, but effectively you have just three more weeks of new advertised stock and then another couple of weeks of mop ups and off markets (that are due for a February auction). And then the big hairy, bearded man is here with his unquarantined animals and pressies.

Stock Levels: So how are stock levels right now and what is the action like?

We were initially tempted to give reporting a miss this weekend as there were only 55 scheduled auctions over $1m. But upon some analysis we were able to find 30 reasonably good homes which we felt gave us a good sample.

Over the next two weeks around 80 auctions (each week) are scheduled at $1m or more. The last week in November does have closer to 100 scheduled, but effectively we have had only one Spring weekend in excess of the 100 auctions that signals a solid day in Bayside and the Inner East. So please send food parcels to your favourite selling agent – as both turnover and clearance rates are down to low lows. However we are finding there are homes to buy, there is good stock out there and more so than a month ago. For this to be the case there must also be falling demand otherwise you would not be seeing falling prices on reduced stock levels. But it is not exactly a free-fall as we are still getting beaten now and then at auctions (when we have to go there) – not by highly priced sellers, but by other buyers.

Previously Negative Sentiment: The last two solid auction weeks – Super Saturday (October 22) and then way back to Preliminary final day (September 24) – were negative for both buyers and sellers in all parts except Boroondara council. They were negative because of low clearance rates – indicating minimal price agreements between buyer and seller.

Correct Pricing: Having said that we can’t help but feel the market is a fair way off its knees. Yes prices are falling – of that there is no doubt and they’re falling quite substantially, up to 10% in the last few months on many homes, even some of the good ones. But – that’s right there’s a but – if the vendor falls in with the market then there are bidders. So the market is not toxic, it’s just in a downward phase. It is in fact a good buyers’ market if choice and falling prices are your definition of a good buyers’ market .

A classic case is 24 Roslyn St Brighton (Stephen Tickell). Bought in June 2007 for $2.3m, last year its owners tried to sell at $2.7m-ish with no takers. This weekend it was back on the market with a quote of $2m+ and, guess what, with two strong bidders it sold for exactly what was paid 4 years ago towards the end of the 2007 bull run. Which demonstrates our point that the market is operating as markets do: they correct and they go up and down.

Wormie: People keep asking how prices are going at the Top end, so we decided to bring Wormie back. This is our best effort at graphically representing where we think the Top End market has gone over the last few years. It’s not an exact science – it’s our opinion.

$3M+ Market: Has the action returned after the September excitement was followed by an early October siesta? We think yes – it is back. People do have cash and they are parting with it when they find the right home. In the last 10 days at least 9 homes over $4 million have been bought and sold. So it’s not dead at the Top End by any measure.

Some Auction Results today

  • 2 Mytton Grove, Brighton, Greg Costello (RT Edgar), under the hammer $6,050,000 – 2 bidders
  • 15 Dudley St, Brighton, Leigh Hallamore (Buxton), after auction $4,000,000+ (undisclosed) -0 bidders
  • 15 Chastleton Ave, Toorak,  Warwick Anderson ( RT Edgar), under the hammer, $4,135,000 – 4 bidders


  • 58 Kooyongkoot Road, Hawthorn – $3,400,000 – 0 bidders
  • 51 Cookson Street, Camberwell – $2,850,000 – 0 bidders

Expressions of Interest: The $3M+ market is not all about auctions. In October the selling agent’s weapon of choice for selling properties above $3m and particularly above $5m moved from Auction to Expressions of Interest. Many EoIs were scheduled for completion either side of the racing carnival. Some results are in from our 8 randomly selected EoI campaigns.

Suburb Address Home Type Date Agency Result
Brighton 1/198 The Esplanade Apartment Oct-26 Kay and Burton Still for Sale
Brighton East 1 Clive Mansion and Land Nov-03 JP Dixon Still for Sale
Caulfield North 58 Howitt World Class Home Nov-02 Kay and Burton Still for Sale
Toorak 14 Kilsyth Art Deco Renovated 28-Oct Kay and Burton Bought – $7.5m+
South Yarra 58 Millswyn Mid sized Victorian 24-Oct Kay and Burton Still for Sale
Hawthorn 33 Coppin Large Brand New Home Nov-02 Kay and Burton Bought $8m+
Balwyn 21-23 Fitzgerald 1940s on big land 28-Oct Jellis Craig Still for Sale
Glen Iris 25 Scott Home and Tennis Court Oct-26 Marshall White Bought – $6m+


We have been to the above homes. Check out our ratings on 25 Scott Grove Glen Iris (791/1000) and 33 Coppin Hawthorn (812/1000) which we have made available to the public. Just Google the address and you will see our James Home Rating.

Tennis Anyone?! Excerpt from October 15th James Marketnews: “Want a home with a Tennis Court in Toorak? Got around $6 million dollars? In the last week we visited, assessed and rated: 11 Scotsburn Toorak (Andrew Smith), 10 Montalto Toorak (Mike Gibson) and 25 Scott Glen Iris (Rae Tomlinson). All have tennis courts.”

The $6M Question: After Super Saturday would these three not sell, sell lower or would the Mexican Wave** kick in (see explanation below) and all would sell once one had gone?

The $6M Answer: The Mexican Wave did in fact kick in with all three selling within 24 hours of each other. All three had quotes of $5m to $6m during their campaigns. Scotsburn was bought after a weekend pass-in (over $5m), Montalto was for most of its campaign a private sale, but finished in a Boardroom Auction at just over $7m. Scott Grove was an Expressions of Interest closing Wednesday (with reportedly three interested parties) and sold 2 hours after the deadline for well over $6m.

**Mexican Wave: It’s just like at the MCG: Kay and Burton brings a group of homes together and they push and prod till they get one buyer to perform and then uses that result to get other buyers to put their hands up on other homes. This is planned months beforehand. It’s totally legitimate and it’s brilliant in concept.

RT Edgar: Has had a pretty solid time with 8 properties selling over $2 million in less than a week, including an off market at 68 Walsh St believed to be around $4 million, not mentioned in above dispatches.

Auctioneers: We love a good auction and we love giving good auctioneers a rap. But this weekend we saw a number of so-so performances. Good auctioneering makes a difference to the end result, so when you see confusion and lack of excitement and dragged out ineffective begging you wonder just how much the seller is losing. It’s hard to prove, but logically if you are told the good auctioneers bring in the dollars, then the poor ones must be losing them out the other end. Auctioneering, like buyer and seller agency work, is not a 5 minute skill that anyone can do who has a loud voice.

Growling Jack - behaving well: Jack Bongiorno (Marshall White) at 50 Stuart, Armadale. Bought after auction for an undisclosed amount above $2,200,000. 2 bidders.

‘Round the Grounds

  • Boroondara – Is Boroondara Moving off solid onto a Roller coaster? – 44%
  • Bayside – Some strong results on the Golden Mile – 53%
  • Stonnington – Was anybody still left in Malvern today or were they all at the races! – 33%
  • Port Phillip – Not Much Happening

Biggest Sale: 2 Mytton Grove, Brighton, Greg Costello (RT Edgar); Under the hammer $6,050,000, 2 bidders
Brighton Golden Mile Beachfront – these are four words that mean money. In recent times that has meant $8000 to $10,000 per sqm – at least at the northern end. A question our auctioneer Greg Costello asked in his opening spiel was “is this southern part of the Golden Mile more highly regarded than the northern part due to the activity on the beachfront?” Personally, as I run past here every day I think yes, but the auction result will tell us for sure. With the blue sea as our backdrop I’m expecting an exciting auction – irrespective of the market this stuff always sells. Greg Costello is conducting proceedings in front of a small crowd of 30. We start with an opening bid of $4,850,000 from Bidder one. $5,000,000 comes in from Bidder two strongly – solid bid. $5,100,000 from a third bidder – who as it turns out was with Bidder one – so we don’t count him – strange strategy that one. Anyway with a fair bit of action we move up to $5,600,000 in various amounts and then to $5,750,000. At all times Bidder two looks in control and is bidding very well and with some intimidation without being over the top. Normally Greg Costello is in excellent form but today was not his best day with bid retention and there are a number of confusing referrals back to his penciller for clarification. At $5,900,000 the “is it on the market?” question was asked, and after a quick referral, an affirmative answer is returned. There are two more decisive bids from Bidder two and its all his at $6,050,000. Loved the winning bidder’s style – aggressive and sensible and much better than his opponent and also many so called professionals that I have witnessed recently – well done sir – we have a job for you here if you care to apply. (Mal James)

Other Brighton Golden Mile Results: 2 Mytton at $6,050,000 divided by 613 sqm = $9,869 per sqm or almost identical tor previous absolute beachfront sqm rates over the past year (which have maintained themselves in the last year and increased on previous high water marks). 8 Moule Avenue (David Hart) is a classic Golden Mile address (but not absolute beachfront) and sold this weekend for $2,310,000 or $3,510 per metre which on first glance is not expensive but in fact is not too far off previous Golden Mile sqm rates. A third Golden Mile property 15 Dudley St (Regina and Brian) sold for in excess of its pass-in figure at $4,400,000 which again considering the house was nothing other than a nice facade was a very, very solid result.

Biggest Pass In: 58 Kooyongkoot Rd, Hawthorn, Scott Patterson (Kay & Burton); passed in, $3,400,000, no bidders
Could you find a better setting for a Melbourne Spring auction? A tranquil backyard by the pool! In front of around 60 people, auctioneer Scott Patterson gave his usual professional best to attract some crowd bidding but this was to no avail. The property passed in after two vendor bids – $3,300,000 and $3,400,000 respectively – and remains for private sale. (Adam Woledge)

Bidderbuzz Auction: 15 Chastleton Ave, Toorak, Warwick Anderson (RT Edgar); Under the hammer, $4,135,000, 4 bidders
Spirited bidding after a slow start was a welcome sequence at the auction of this single level home in Toorak. A crowd of 80 neighbours chatted quietly throughout the action, eagerly anticipating the value to be determined by the market. After opening on a vendor bid of $3,400,000 and the declaration that the council had valued the property at $3,700,000, auctioneer Warwick Anderson tried to keep pace with the determined 4 bidders. After the second vendor referral, Warwick announced the property on the market at $3,800,000 but the strong bidding continued, with bidder number 4 securing the home at $4,135,000. (Gina Kantzas)

Buyer Masterclass: “Risks of Chasing a Housebuying Reward”. Read the article in The Weekly Review or our Buyer Masterclass.

We Only Buy Homes

The crowd of around 50 clamber for some shade at 8 Moule, Brighton. Leigh Hallamore (Buxton), bought after auction, $2,310,000, 2 bidders

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