oc | Friday 24th January

Last auction hurrah before winter sets in

And that's it folks: Paul Castran (Castran Gilbert) sells 9 Brynmawr Road, Camberwell, after auction, $2,815,000, two bidders

At 6.00 pm on Super Saturday, the James Clearance Rate for Melbourne’s $M+ was 63% on the 27 auctions we covered. The , our bidders per auction measurement, was at 1.8. Both figures are down on last week.

In contrast to last week’s strong results and high number of bidders, we were back to much of what we have seen all year with settling at 1.8 bidders per auction.  Of the properties we covered this week, there were bidders at all of them in Boroondara, with the standout at 15 Raven Street, Kew (Arch Staver, Nelson Alexander), which sold for $2.81 million with 5 bidders.  Bayside, Port Phillip and Stonnington saw some auctions with no bidders, and others with plenty.  A record price was achieved at 35 Serrell Street, Malvern East (John Morrisby, Jellis Craig Bennison McKinnon) with 4 bidders at over $2million, the final hammer coming down at $2,385,000.  Jason Gill at Hodges, had 4 bidders at 25 Lawrence Street, Brighton selling for $1,480,000. There was clearly still strength at the top end of the market today for good properties with Tim Derham, Abercromby’s selling 42 Washington Street, with 3 bidders for a little over $6million.

What does this mean for buyers leading into the Winter break?

Certainly in Bayside, Port Phillip and Stonnington there may be opportunities for buyers to purchase some of the pass-ins from this weekend. But beyond that, it seems last week may have been an anomaly, and unless stock numbers and or buyer numbers change significantly, we are likely to continue off where we have finished.

Overall Summary of Melbourne’s Million Dollar Plus Auctions:

  • Ducks ($M+ auctions with no bidders) 24%
  • Lone Rangers ($M+ auctions with one bidder) 16%
  • Norms ($M+ auctions with 2 or 3 bidders) 48%
  • Volcanoes ($M+ auctions with 4 or more bidders at auction) 12%

That’s a win to the Norms, with nearly half of the auctions we covered attracting between two and three bidders.

Big crowd braves winter cold: John Morrisby (Jellis Craig Bennison Mackinnon), sells 35 Serrell Street, Malvern East, under hammer, $2,385,000, 4 bidders and 100 spectators

As we head into the winter break, it’s worth reflecting on how the market has performed so far this year. What we saw this weekend was a continuation of an extraordinarily up and down year.  We’ve had a slew of Super Saturdays, weekends when it looked like the market had gone into turbo-charge, and others where it seemed to have fallen into a hole – often following one after the other.

Just to remind you of where we’ve been, here is a quick wrap up of each month for the year so far:

2014 Reflection…


Agents, vendors and buyers alike headed back from holidays to ponder the 2014 market. Will it reflect previous years? Will it be stronger? Will it be quieter?  We will soon find out..


Auctions resumed on February 8, but the first real test of the market was on February 22 – the first of many Super Saturdays scheduled for 2014, with around 150 $M+ auctions held across Melbourne. We recorded a healthy 71% clearance rate on 42 auctions and Bidderman was 2.6 – what a start to the year! That’s big!


2014’s second Super Saturday was on March 1, and the market seemed to hiccup, with a drop in to only 56%. Was this the beginning of a market shift? But with Labour Day looming, and only six weeks until Easter, the market was a little less predictable than we first thought after the previous weekend’s big results.

After the Labour Day breather, it seemed things were flattening with a 66% clearance rate. Similar results were seen again the following week. We find that the A Graders are still motoring along, but the overpriced B and C Graders were struggling.

Some interesting results on the last weekend of March with 40% of sales above $3m occurring in – not Brighton or Toorak– but . The simple answer to this is the strength of Chinese national buyers.


The pre-Easter market was off to a good start with a 76% clearance rate on April 5, but with school holidays and the Easter period taking up most of the month, the market took a break.


May was the first month of the year that we saw a real uninterrupted run of auction campaigns. With all sorts of figures for most of the month – high numbers of off-markets, private sales and before auction sales. Clearance rates in May were also all over the place, with the month starting at 61% and ending on 74%.

We prepared for our third Super Saturday on the 24th, followed by another in just seven days.  Four Super Saturdays in the first half of the year – Wow! We have already had the intensity that spring usually brings. Heading into winter, and another set of school holidays, was this the last real hurrah before the auction season slows down and takes its yearly breather?


The Queen’s Birthday weekend causes another interruption to auctions and we were back on June 14 for two weeks before things really quietened down for winter. June 14 proved to be big – we recorded a clearance rate of 79% and Bidderman was at 2.9. That’s huge!  Buy we know from experience that from here until August, it will be all about off-markets and private sales until agents, buyers and vendors toss aside their winter coats and prepare for the spring auction season.

And Beyond….

What can we expect from here on in? Spring is usually the most hectic time of year in terms of auctions. We have already seen four Super Saturdays this year, unprecedented in other years, so will there be plenty more after the winter hiatus? Agents are telling us they already have plenty on their books for August and last year was busy – will it be even busier?

With August having 5 clear weekends to run campaigns, an opportunity for sellers and potentially buyers to get in before the busy Spring market when both will face additional competition.

What type of buyer are you?

As we go into the winter break it is also a good time to think about what kind of buyer you are.

Are you a house buyer, a position buyer or money buyer?

Knowing the answer to this question before you start searching will help when it comes to the pointy end buying your next home by providing you with clear direction as to why you are doing what you are doing and potentially help understand the risks versus the rewards.

Read our Masterclass article for more detail on this topic. But here is a quick summary:

  • A house buyer is focused on what is inside the boundary of the property – the house, the flow, the condition, the style, the garden, the spaces etc.
  • A position buyer may be prepared to compromise on the house for a location that meets their needs – e.g. within 500 metres of the beach, shops, station, schools and transport.
  • A money buyer may only want to buy something that is perceived to be cheap, but could also be someone who is focused on financial growth and outcomes.

Many buyers are a combination of all three, however, unless they have a lot of flexibility with their budget. For many the house may be more important than the position or visa versa.

It is important to clarify what type of buyer you are before you start searching as there may be risks emotionally and financially if you are unclear.

For more information please read our Masterclass What Type of Buyer are You?


Going, going, gone: Justin Long (Marshall White) sells 13 Oxford Street, Malvern, under hammer, $4,225,000, 2 bidders

Biggest Auctions:

  • Toorak, 42 Washington Street, Tim Derham (Abercromby’s), under hammer, $6,010,000, 3 bidders
    Some in the crowd wandered in from the just completed auction at Wallace Street around the corner…(See More in Auction Reports)
  • Malvern, 13 Oxford Street, Justin Long (Marshall White), under hammer, $4,225,000, 2 bidders
    A landmark property for the area attracted a curious crowd of 70. What will happen?…(See More in Auction Reports)
  • Camberwell, 9 Brynmawr Road, Paul Castran (Castran Gilbert), after auction, $2,815,000, 2 bidders
    The tiny spits of rain turned into a little shower which prompted auctioneer Paul Castran…(See More in Auction Reports)


  • Kew, 15 Raven Street, Arch Staver (Nelson Alexander), under hammer, $2,810,000, 5 bidders
    It is always fun to watch a Arch Staver auction, always highly entertaining with his friendly banter that really gets the crowd going….(See More in Auction Reports)
  • Malvern East, 35 Serrell Street, John Morrisby (Jellis Craig Bennison Mackinnon), under hammer, $2,385,000, 4 bidders
    A crowd of 100 gathered to see John Morrisby auction this home. An opening bid of $2,000,000…(See More in Auction Reports)
  • Brighton, 25 Lawrence Street, Jason Gill (Hodges), under hammer, $1,480,000, 4 bidders
    On this overcast and blustery midwinter day, auctioneer Jason Gill was a calm and measured presence…(See More in Auction Reports)

Biggest Pass Ins:

  • Middle Park, 272 Beaconsfield Parade, passed in, $5,700,000, no bidders
    Spots of rain didn’t deter the crowd of around 50 people from lining the footpath outside of 272 Beaconsfield Parade…(See More in Auction Reports)
  • Toorak, 25 Wallace Avenue, passed in, $4,900,000, no bidders
    In the vendor’s family since forever, this home on large land presented a number of opportunities for buyers…(See More in Auction Reports)
  • South Yarra, 23 Park Street, passed in, $4,800,000, no bidders
    No photograph can prepare one for the experience of this space…(See More in Auction Reports)

Agent Survey: How do you think the year 2014 has gone thus far?

Scott Patterson (Kay & Burton, Hawthorn): “2014 has been stronger than expected.  The Boroondara marketplace has been particularly buoyant with strong demand outstripping supply.  We have noticed a spike in overseas buyers competing for properties with large land holdings.  Historically they always preferred new homes however that trend appears to be changing with a number of landmark period style homes selling to buyers new to Melbourne.  Low interest rates and stable employment are the two biggest drivers for consumer confidence which has been positive all year.  The next six months should be interesting as we are all wondering whether this rising market can be sustained.  I suspect there is still a way to go yet..”

Torsten Kasper ( Chisholm & Gamon, Elwood): 2014 started strongly with multiple buyers in all price segments.  Coupled with the budget, and a tightening of stock, we have seen the number of buyers reduce. Good properties, well priced and underpinned by good location, are still selling well and are highly sought. The major weakening has been those properties which have one or two failings that the market was being far too forgiving on earlier in the year. We see the market being steady for the balance of the year.”

No Marketnews till end of July: As the market slows down for Winter, the planes fly out from Tulla full of agents and their families and Amex cards go crazy in Paris, we at Marketnews are also taking a break till the end of July. However, James Buyer Advocates offices in Brighton and Hawthorn are still open should you require auction, boardroom auction, EOI, on- or off-market buying assistance. Thank you for your readership support, which is now in excess of 5000 every week.

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