oc | Friday 24th January

The bubble deflated a long time ago – and 2011, like 2010, has mostly been a Buyers’ Market.

2011 Best Auction Photo - I see Red: The Hocking Stuart boys - Andrew Stuart, David Wood and Michael Coen - bring a glimmer of colour to an otherwise dreary Melbourne day on July 30th. 20 Barrett St, Albert Park had no bidders but was bought after auction for $2,200,000. Sums up the year for most agents. Jen Milligan the reporter and photographer

At 6pm on Saturday, the James Clearance Rate for $M+ was 46% on the 24 auctions we attended. The Weekly Review Bidderman, our demand indicator, was 1.3.

This Weekend’s Market
It was a weekend that exemplified what 2011 has mostly been about – big enough crowds, and even spirited bidding in some cases, but ultimately a failure by many sellers to accept what buyers were prepared to pay. The overall market is definitely finishing the year on a flat note.

In fact, with the exception of two in Boroondara and one in Glen Eira, none of the properties we reported on sold under the hammer this weekend. By the end of the day, the final clearance rate for Boroondara was 47%, Port Phillip was 44%, Bayside was 36% and Stonnington 29%. To be balanced, overall it wasn’t an exciting stock weekend.

However one auction of excitement was 17 Yarraford Alphington (Andrew Simondson of Collins Simms). Our initial thoughts were $1.6m to $1.7m for value, our rating was 557/1000 and our finishing comment was “Overall a home that will attract a limited but probably very emotional audience”. The under the hammer result ended up around $400,000 away from where we initially thought and probably $300,000 over reserve (so what do we all know sometimes) as a couple of must-havers fought it out – further proof that if the property is well marketed and regarded as an A-grader, then strong prices can still happen. As 2011 draws to a close the market continues to remain two-faced; a reasonably strong one for a limited number of market priced A and B graders and another far bigger, far weaker and price falling one for overpriced A, B or C graders.

With the number of auctions dropping to next to nothing over the next couple of weeks before going into the long summer hiatus, this is our final Market News edition for 2011. This weekend’s auction reports are still available for viewing and our Buyer Advocacy office is open until December 17th.

Please read on however, for our summation of the year that was. Read on too for our James Market News Annual Awards and our revisiting of the best auctions of 2011.

2011 Table of Contents Christmas Edition

  • 2011 – Year in Review
  • James Market News Annual Awards
  • 5 Great Auctions in 2011
  • Christmas Thank Yous
  • Legends’ Thoughts on 2012 will be in Buyer Masterclass over the next week.

2011 YEAR IN REVIEW

2011 has been a year some in the property market – chiefly sellers and some agents – would possibly rather forget. For buyers it’s been a little better, when there’s been a reasonable supply of good stock. But buyers’ enthusiasm has been constrained by nervousness about economic events unfolding beyond our shores. So while they’ve been out there looking, and while in many cases they’ve been keen to buy, they haven’t wanted to pay too much – certainly not as much as what many sellers are demanding. For many sellers it’s not been a happy result – and some of them will be still on the market with their now stale offerings in the new year.

Read on for our season-by-season account of how the year unfolded.

LATE SUMMER

After 2010 finished in a state we described as ‘balanced and healthy’, 2011 started with a bit of warmth, even moving into ‘hot’ for the $1 million market. On the last weekend in February, clearance rates for the auctions we attended were up at 74% and Bidderman was at 2.

But a flush of new stock slated to come on to the market in March and April would be the test of whether the warmth we saw in the last weekend of summer represented an underlying hotting up or a temporary New Year afterglow.

The story was different with the $3m+ plus market, which was dead as a doornail with very few homes changing hands. Geographically too, the trend at the Top End of the market reversed – with Bayside performing a lot better than the Inner East (in fact Brighton townhouses at the $3m level were almost walking out the door).

AUTUMN

The New Year afterglow had indeed faded by March, with buyers increasingly nervous about world events, the stock market, the government – the whole shebang. Coinciding with this buyer nervousness was a flood of new stock coming onto the market as would-be sellers also nervous about the future decided to try and sell quickly.

The surge in stock was not taken up by the market and consequently we saw declining auction clearance rates and bidder numbers, and a market groaning under the weight of stock numbers. Not only was new stock coming on that would previously have been gobbled up, but it was having to compete with an increasing backlog of pass-ins from previous weeks. This compounding rate of stock build meant price only had one way to go – and that was down. It wasn’t quite a price free fall, however, as most sellers, including those  at the $3m+ level, had the resources to ride out what they thought was just a blip of negativity.

Red Zone - Bidders under 1.5 - Falling Prices - Click to enlarge

EASTER

From around Easter the market had the first of two short periods of 2011 price spiking (September was the other). Those sellers who had the good luck or good management to be in the market at this time saw some good results – especially those with sensibly priced A grade properties. 

May 21st was probably the high point for sellers, with the clearance rate a whopping 84% on the 37 auctions we attended and Bidderman of over 2. It was the 2011 weekend to be selling.

WINTER

However, the late autumn cheer turned out to be nothing more than a brief flare of optimism before we went into a grinding winter with little activity as the supply of good quality stock dried up, and buyers stayed home uninspired by what was on offer. It was not so much a negative as a boring market.

Prices flat-lined and even fell on lower quality homes. The exception was the rare occasion when a quality home hit the market, but overall the market was off by as much as 10% from the last peak in April 2010.

The unluckiest sellers this year were those that went to auction on August 6 the day after the stockmarket plunged by more than 4% on fears the global financial crisis was re-emerging. Just 3 of the 25 auctions we covered sold under the hammer – that’s 12% – though by the end of the day that figure had gone up to 55%.

After that weekend of panic, the rest of winter wasn’t quite the disaster that some had feared. It was more a ‘nothing’ market, with little good stock on offer, and most auctions seemed a tug of war rather than a race – even when there was solid support from buyers. Vendors refused to budge on price, and buyers weren’t prepared to pay what they saw as inflated asking prices – and the result, more often than not, was a stalemate.

Red Zone - Poor Price Matching - Falling Prices - Click to enlarge

EARLY SPRING

Early Spring saw a reprieve from the doom and gloom of winter, with the second of the year’s upwards price spikes. The $3 million plus market did particularly well. On August 27 we reported that 11 homes had sold for a total of $55 million in one week.  Clearance rates were back up over 60%. The heat stayed for most of the month of September at $3M+.

Why did this happen? It was like April – it was about buyers looking into the future and seeing not a lot of good stock coming on. The supply and price equation showed that demand was there when conditions were right – and September proved it.

But by mid-September we were back in the ‘two speed market’. This division between over-priced lower grade properties and good quality well priced properties had been going on all year, but it became more entrenched as the year went on and buyers flocked to A-grade auctions and stayed away in droves from the rest.

At the lower end it was a vicious circle of low bidder demand resulting in poor results, making sellers reluctant to put their houses on the market. Which meant little in the way of good stock around, so buyers already feeling cautious about the economy anyway weren’t bothering to go out there and bid on the little that was on offer.

Meanwhile, at that upper level, where buyers weren’t so concerned about the economy, they were snapping up whatever good quality stock was coming on to the market. All you need is couple of bidders at this level to push the price up, and even at this point we were seeing auctions with three or more.

However the up spike was short-lived. By the end of September the heat had dissipated as opportunistic sellers flooded their properties onto the market. Within a fortnight most of the good news for sellers was over. And, as it turned out, that was it for sellers in terms of good news in 2011. For buyers though, the good news has rolled on for the rest of the year with a great combination of falling prices and increased choice.

LATE SPRING

With the AFL season ending a week later than usual, the spotlight was on October 22 as the day of culmination for many auction campaigns and the biggest Super Saturday for 2011. 150 auctions were slated for the $1 million market in the Inner east and Bayside, three times as many as the previous week, and twice as many as we’d seen on any weekend since autumn.

But it was a day of pouring rain and frustrated hopes for many sellers, with a clearance rate of just 43% on the 46 auctions we attended. And many of the properties that passed in on that hopeful day sat on the market for weeks to come. Three weeks after Super Saturday our survey showed that a third of those properties still had not sold.

Even so, the market was not exactly on its knees. Yes, prices were continuing to fall and in some cases falling quite substantially. But when vendors were prepared to fall in with the market, there were bidders. In fact, if choice and falling prices are your definition of a good buyers’ market, this was an ideal buyers’ market.

2011 - Falling Prices - Click to enlarge

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR 2012?

There is a lot talk going on about the market being overpriced and the bubble bursting. But the fact is the bubble has already well and truly burst. Prices right now appear to be tumbling as much as they did in the GFC. Even on some good homes they are down 5%- 10% and as much as 20% since our last high water mark (April 2010) on the weaker homes.

But markets can turn quickly. To recap on recent history, we saw this kind of price discounting through the GFC in 2008 – although, please the GFC was heavier than 2011. But we also saw prices climbing back up the next year, with  a mini boom occurring up until Anzac Day 2010. During that period some prices on some homes rose by as much as 30%. Our graphic representation to the right shows how prices have moved in the past couple of years.

And while we have seen big price drops in 2011 (on all but the best of the best), there is not the panic we saw three years ago. The market appears to be accepting these ups and downs as a normal gyration and these gyrations may well become bigger and more regular in 2012 as we all become more ‘fully informed’ through media saturation.

Our best bit of advice for 2012: The Market is Two-faced:

Look at the Bidderman stats over the last 3 weeks. Two weeks ago we reported 27 bidders on 5 homes and 14 bidders combined on the other 21 auctions. It was the same story last week, with 17 bidders on 4 homes but only 15 bidders on the other 21 homes we reported on. This week we saw  26 bidders on 7 homes and 24 bidders combined on the other 27 homes we reported on. Which shows that properties that are hot, are really hot. Those that aren’t, need a good agent.

These facts should show you the importance of

  • Research
  • Multiple Negotiation Strategy – low and high
  • Price Framing – may be $100,000s away from where you are.
  • Selection in buying now determines for your future in selling.

Auctioneer of the Year – Growling Jack
It was an easy choice this year: ‘Growling’ Jack Bongiorno has been the standout auctioneer in our patch in 2011. And while it is true an auctioneer is only as good as the selling agents who support him (in this case Heather and Rae in particular), you still have to go out there and perform.

In the past we have been critical of Growling Jack’s opening waffle (it was too long) and while that has improved, there are still auctioneers with a better opening patter. So why is he our auctioneer of the year in 2011?

Simple – in the guts of the auction and at the business end he is the strongest, most effective performer out there right now. In a tough market place – and many auctions are tough right now – Growling Jack takes the audience and the bidders on. He challenges them, makes them laugh, makes them cry and most of all he keeps things going – rarely missing a beat in terms of numbers or momentum. In 2011 if you wanted to see the best, then you needed to watch a full-on Growling Jack auction – it was on many occasions a masterpiece of theatre and business combined. Hat off to you Jack!

Also on the podium are Phillip Kingston and Antony Woodley – these guys a good, bloody good and they extract money from the crowd where others can’t. Philip Kingston is still the auctioneers’ auctioneer and the most consistent performer over the last decade in our opinion. Antony Woodley is a pro – his spiel, tempo, bid retention, bid suggestion are almost faultless and his auctions should be viewed by young auctioneers as a training manual.

Agent of the Year –
Only a few years ago Marcus was our young agent of the year; this year he seems to have really come of age. Particularly towards the end of the year, he flew home to the finishing post with some very big deals. Specialising in new homes and apartments, his years of consistent data basing and marketing have really begun to pay off and Marcus’s name was, in 2011, the name we heard the most when it came to the big deals getting done. His strengths lie in two things – his ability to match a buyer and seller and his way of doing business. We find it simple, open and straightforward. Yes he does step quote, like almost all Marshall White agents, but he is more open about it and guides buyers through the process a lot better than most (he keeps you informed and if you deserve it, he treats you with respect). There are many great agents out there in 2011 and in our opinion Marcus Chiminello was amongst the best of them. Hat off to you Marcus!

Agency of the Year –
In 2011 Kay and Burton’s performance in a tough market at the Top End set them apart. In their specialty, the Ultra Top End, they have made their mark with some very substantial sales and they have done it consistently. They have gained a first rate performer in Scott Patterson to head up their Hawthorn Office and unfortunately lost a doyen in Gerald, who has retired. All through this, under Mike Gibson, they haven’t missed a beat. What separates them from their main rivals, besides their consistent professionalism, is they have not attracted anywhere near the level of negative comment about their quoting from buyers we deal with. Kay and Burton are a first rate company and this year in our opinion they have been the best we have come across. Hat off to you Michael!

Innovation of the Year – The Kay and Burton Report
Sure others do it – but nobody does it as well and the first few minutes of this report are compulsive viewing each time it comes out. It’s slick, informative and is looks solid – a great marketing tool that lifts the bar for all of us. Hat off to you Tracey.


Young Agent of the Year – Campbell Ward
Honesty and Decency are the two words we associate with Jellis Craig’s Campbell Ward when it comes to real estate. In fact Campbell is very much NOT how many of you may think about selling agents – he is quiet, polite and generally low key. With his partner and mentor Peter Batrouney they form one the more effective teams in Boroondara. Campbell we hope you never change and we also hope that more and more young agents see that you can park you ego to the side, you can be open and honest with buyers and sellers and you can have a very successful real estate career. Hat off to you Campbell and may many others follow in your real estate footsteps.

Raspberry of the Year

Step Quoting – when it’s done inappropriately, (and not all step quoting is illegal or immoral),  it is the biggest negative to our industry and we urge buyers not to tolerate blatant lying around what an agent expects a property to go for. Report them, put in claims for your expenses such as building and pest reports, hassle them, ask them for a comparable sale to justify their attempt to treat you with contempt. Sellers – when your agent lies for or to you in this market, you may actually end up with a lower price than if your agent has been truthful. Buyers are not idiots, they will pay you back after a pass-in, if they feel you have not negotiated in good faith.

The Bayside Market – we are not sure what’s in the water in Bayside. But it has clearly affected some vendors and some agents there. The Bayside Market is actually a lot healthier than it may appear in terms of would-be buyers; but as long as sellers and agents remain so far apart when it comes to asking price versus market price,  the market will continue to operate on lower levels than it needs to.

2011 Auction Report of the Year – Reporter Daniel Ehrenreich
Super Saturday – October 22nd  – 38 Kerferd St, Malvern East, Glen Coutinho (Hocking Stuart); Under hammer, $2,862,000, 4 bidders

Wow what an auction! This is as intense as it gets. Glen Coutinho has firmed as one of the best auctioneers in Melbourne in my humble opinion. What started out with meek interest from a lively crowd of around 70 people turned into the most hotly contested auction I’ve ever seen. A modest opening bid of $2,350,000 was announced from one party in the crowd and was quickly overtaken by another for $2,355,000.  The two went back and forth in increments of $5,000, then $2,000, then $10,000. Once the price reached $2,501,000 it seemed as though the action had come to a head, and Mr Coutinho retreated to his vendors to discuss the situation. Confident of reaching the price he and his vendors desired, Mr Coutinho continued unabated, knowing full well there were several other parties very interested in the property. As the property was being called down for a fourth time a third party entered the fray, bidding $2,540,000. This guy was ready for a showdown, but the original bidder stuck to it and was relentless in his pursuit of the Glen Iris home. Unable to continue, the young lion who made a worthy challenge correctly backed off, leaving the fight wounded but not insulted. At this point the crowd was able to breathe momentarily, but it wasn’t over! A fourth man entered the mix, and began his challenge. He proceeded to walk across the road towards the original bidder attempting to eye him down, but the original bidder was having none of it. As those who play enough poker know, when someone shows aggression towards you, it is generally a sign of weakness. Fortunately, the original bidder (who probably doesn’t play poker) picked up on the bluff and showed no signs of folding. Once the figure reached $2,862,000, the new combatant gave up announcing: ‘he can have it,’ and the auction ended with a standing ovation from the crowd, although it may have only been an ovation as they were already standing. (Daniel Ehrenreich)

September 3rd – 29 Rose St, Armadale, John Bongiorno (Marshall White); Under the hammer $3,030,000, 9 bidders

Well here we are with the MW trifecta – Jack, Rae and Heather. The monkey and the two organ grinders some unkind people may say. The crowd is big, but not unexpected (125) and they are here to watch the theatrics and possible fireworks as this home was only bought and sold 3 years ago for a tad under $2,500,000. There is talk the current owners want a fair bit more than their money back. We get the usual start from Jack – solid and professional and then to the real theatre. $2,000,000 bid from Bidder One is refused/half taken and a vendor bid at $2,250,000 is slammed back – geez Jack is in an aggressive mood. A second bidder chimes in at $2,275,000 and a 1/2 time break is taken. That was a surprise. “Get on with it” Jack barks out at the crowd upon his return. Bidder Three tries $10,000 – “No” screams back Jack. He has obviously been well prepped about big interest by Heather and Rae, but nonetheless it’s still very aggressive bid refusals. Two more bidders take it up to $2,425,000 and we have some momentum – some real momentum. Jack says there is no reserve – and he issues the challenge bid or you’ll  “get overrun” at the pass-in. Boy, is he sticking it up the crowd – Jack is at his petulant best and it seems to be paying off. Please this is not gay abandon – Heather and Rae must have briefed him there were multiple bidders. Bidder 5 – $2,500,000. Bidder 6 – $2,600,000. Jack has won the crowd over with his self deprecating humor intertwined with a certain downright arrogance that he has in spades today. Lots of bidding and we are at $2,800,000  – Bidder 7. $2,875,000 and a couple of bidders rightfully push hard for an answer to the question.  “Is it on the market Jack?” they repeatedly ask and belatedly and smartly Jack retreats back inside for an answer – this was a time for concession, empathy, not bravado and Jack read it perfectly. On his return – wait for it “Yes it’s on the market” he fires into the main “on the market” enquirer and Jack adds “now bid – no pressure but we’re all watching you”. $2,925,000 – Bidder 8. Straight through $3m with a new bidder – that’s 9 in total. Bought under the hammer for $3,030,000. Wow! And the market is dead for all homes – NOT. Not sure who should take a bow for this – certainly Rae and Heather – and the home, the sellers, the market, Jack, the bidders. Why don’t you all take a bow. Bloody ripper auction.

August 13th – 4 Glan Avon, Hawthorn, James Tostevin (Marshall White); Under the hammer $2,815,000, 3 bidders
Enchanting riverside parcel of land with a couple of possible development issues, sees a large crowd of 130 in attendance wondering what this rarity will bring. James Tostevin is our auctioneer and the centrepoint to his opening spiel is a letter from council saying basically no heritage overlay. This is why James is a great agent – attention to detail and he powerfully makes his case that you can build what you want (STCA). To the uninitiated most would not realise just how powerful this presentation was by James. It’s rare you see a commanding performance before the bidding even begins, but his delivery was strong and persuasive – obviously this has been a issue and he buried it firmly, leaving bidders in no doubt and free to raise their hands. I dare say he was also the catalyst in getting this letter – many agents would simply not have bothered by saying – “make your own enquiries”. Anyway to the bidding – Bidder one opens at $2,000,000 and an immediate vendor bid at $2,200,000 is placed on top. Bidder 2 at $2,250,000. Bidder 1 – $2,300,000. Bidder 3 – $2,400,000. We move between bidders in $50,000’s to $2,550,000 and then in $25,000’s and then less. A word back on the auctioneer – James has always been highly regarded as an auctioneer by us – but I suppose because he is such a good agent we have always seen him as that first and auctioneer second. Today his bidder suggestions, pace and pathos were near faultless. This was turning into a truly command performance. After a small momentum drop we arrive at $2,625,000 and James calls a half –time break. This no doubt is to seek vendor instructions, but it is also because he too feels a drop in momentum and a break is called for so as he can return and revitalize his dueling bidders. We get to $2,700,000 and then $2,710,000 and it’s still not on the market: James suggests a bid to $2,750,000 which gets the nod and immediately it’s announced it on the market. Well done we are playing fair rules today not the bulldust pass-in and Claytons reserve. As we begin to slow James eeeks out every last bid with good humour and a certain intangible feeling which gets the hand of the underbidder up a few more times than perhaps he wanted to. It looks like it’s gone at $2,810,000 but a final $5,000 and the other bidder has it – exhausted and delighted all at the same time. Really a near faultless performance with no referral to notes – and people think anybody can be an agent or auctioneer – bravo James a brilliant, powerful 20 minutes and in the Top 10 of all auctions I have seen.

May 21st – 17 Murchison, St Kilda East, Phillip Kingston (Gary Peer); After Auction Just under $1,700,000, 2 bidders
Nice little home this one, well thought out with unusual entry but it works for me. Quote is $1,600,000 to $1,760,000 and while car parking is not brilliant, it is an above average typical quirky St. Kilda East home and should have interest. At this price, the quote seems full, well let’s wait and see. Just about to start and Phillip says he is holding it inside. Good idea it’s cozy by the fire. Down to business; we like Phillip Kingston. You know – he is one of Melbourne’s Dons when it comes to auctions. This crowd of around 40 is in for a treat as the rear is a great amphitheatre for this sure to be entertaining auction. Phillip would have been a stand up in a previous life or a politician – he is simply the most powerful story teller that operates on Melbourne auction weekends and today with emotion and genuine passion he leads the crowd into a place where they all want to be and that place is here. A nice little interim joke, the crowd laughs gently as Phillip calls for bids. Nothing arrives and a vendor bid is placed at $1,600,000. A few jokes about his fellow agents and Phillip reminds any potential bidders that bid now or face a non transparent post auction process. No action and first call, second call, half-time and zippo. Just before Phillip closes the auction, a ripper question is asked. “Phillip can I can bid lower than $1,600,000”. “No” – politely comes the reply. And finally $1,605,000 comes and a second bidder in at $1,610,000. Game on at the death – or is it. It’s like drawing teeth and surprisingly that’s all she wrote. Passed In at $1,610,000, a surprising first act to this two act play. If Phillip couldn’t get another $5,000 then there wasn’t another. We await the final installment. Postscript: sold after within the range – believed to be under $1,700,000.

February 26th – 33 Middle Crescent, Brighton, Jason Swift (Hodges); Bought under the hammer, $4,300,000, 3 bidders
“Hey start me where you like – somebody bounce my ball” cried out the cockney accent of Jason Swift. I loved this auction; it was entertaining , bold and good ‘ol fashion fun. Jason Swift gave us piles of corn, humour, clichés and he gave the auction something else – character and the more important – momentum . At first you might think, hmmm bit strange – bloody Pom doing an auction – but mate he’s as Aussie as Jack Thompson and I loved the way he auctioned this home. The crowd was spread out – the vendor wanted a big but not ridiculous number and with good work pre-auction and a classy performance on the day, Hodges got what their client wanted. Well done Jason; I’m not sure how many people know just how good that was – bringing a crowd with you at this level is what only a few can do well. That was definitely a 2 hat performance. Opened at $3,000,000; on market at $4,200,000 concluding under the hammer at $4,300,000. Great theatre and a great way to finish the day.”

Thank Yous
Even though we are on the other side, as a group we receive mentoring and support from James Connell, Mike Gibson, Gerald Delany, James Tostevin and Richard Earle and many others and we thank them for that. Personally I find my chats with Rob Vickers-Willis, Justin Long, Scott Patterson, Hamish Tostevin, Peter Batrouney and Richard Winneke and many others very helpful and stimulating. We could not produce what we produce each week without the access of selling agency principals such as David Hart, Tim Derham, Jock Langley, Stephen Tickell, Peter Kennett, Iain Carmichael, Geoff Cayzer, Andrew Stuart, Campbell Cooney, Bill Stavrakis, Jeremy Fox and Jonathan Dixon to name but a few – so thank you. Each week we are out there sniffing around, digging things up, reporting the good and the not so good; yet rarely do we have any interference and never have we been pressured to change anything. In a world of prima donnas (supposedly) we get a very fair run and we thank almost all selling agents for that.

Buyer Advocacy has an important role to play in providing an alternative voice for buyers and we acknowledge the contribution of our main competitors in David Morrell and Chris Koren.

While we don’t agree with everything Chris Vedelago from The Age writes and no doubt vice-versa, we acknowledge his contributions as being the best overall in the mainstream press. Its amazing to us the lack of quality insights provided by the dailies into Melbourne Property. Often they are no more than a collection of dubious quotes cobbled together with no meaning or value.

We would also like to thank Eileen from the The Weekly Review who puts up our Buyer articles most weeks, even the ones that carry some controversy – thanks for staying brave.

To our own production team leaders in Simone Clarke and Jen Milligan thank you for another great year – I still don’t know how you organise what you do each auction week. To my personal editor Karin, who keeps me in check, thank you.  To our independent management advisors in Chris Farrell and  Peter Tanner thank you. To co-workers Guy, Julie and Naomi and partners Gina the Boss and Architect Adam thank you. To all our auction reporters Kate Agnoleto, Debbie McTaggart, Joshua Bong, Doug Paget, Daniel Ehrenreich, Lexie Stewart, Nikki Hills and the real old boy, David James, another great year of reporting and thank you – without you none of this would be possible. To a few of our favourites who moved onto greener pastures this year in Michael, Kris and Peter and our new IT partners Kate and Michael at Andmine thank you.

And finally to all of you who come up to us at opens and auctions and say nice things (mostly), who write tens of  letters to us every week, asking us questions and saying nice and not so nice things (fair enough if you keep it polite) – thank you. And lastly to you, who gave us  over 500,000 visits (incredible stat from Google) during 2011, thank you all for your support. We at James hope you have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year (we are open till December 17th) and look forward to seeing you next year in 2012 to do it all over again (office opens 16th January) – our first Market News will be back in mid February 2012.


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