oc | Tuesday 28th January

We’re back and the market is still in a forward gear, sans the 2015 Asian overdrive.

The big Auction days are back - Russell Cambridge at 1 Brooks Richmond, slams down $2,010,000, under the hammer, 3 bidders.

The big Auction days are back – Russell Cambridge at 1 Brooks Richmond, slams down $2,010,000, under the hammer, 3 bidders.



James Indicators 20April2016


The market is showing a return to normality as evidenced by a healthy, but not stratospheric clearance rate of 68 today.

Having said that, there is a feeling of subdued excitement amongst agents (listing ok for June) and buyers ( 2.5 on big stock numbers today) as sellers appear to be coming out of hibernation in greater numbers.

The holiday weekends are out of the way and sellers have seemingly put aside the auction fears that late 2015 engendered.

Good, because the market is healthy and there are lots of buyers.

The BIG question for the next two months before the July winter hiatus is………Price.

Will seller expectations match buyer expectations?

At auctions the answer appears to be a yes, but away from auctions (off markets) we are not so sure.

In our opinion, most market inaction away from auctions is due to sellers.

There is no doubt there are many buyers ready to buy – the question is, are the sellers ready to sell?

Today showed some runaway auctions, but it also showed some mismatches with 1 in 3 auctions being ducks or lone rangers – that is, they had one or less bidders.

Away from auctions it’s a different story, a far greater imbalance – the off market action is nowhere near as strong as it is at auctions right now and nowhere near as strong as it was this time last year.

Sure there have been some super non-auction sales in the last week – eg Brighton Waterfront north of $10m with Alex Schiavo from Kay & Burton, but that was also fair value, that’s why it sold – and of course a good agent.

A large number of non-auction homes have price tags we find hard to compute – and hey we can be numerical flexible people.

Above $7m market (to pick a figure) May 2016 versus May 2015

This time last year, this dollar segment market was as crazy and as out of control as it appeared. What appeared bulltish to many buyers was actually happening – the markets in , , Canterbury and Brighton were as strong as claimed.

For instance the incredible St Vincent Place Albert Park (David Wood) circa $12,000,000 wasn’t urban folklore – it did happen.

In Jock Langley did sell a home Flete Avenue approaching $10,000,000

Yes Brighton waterfront did see the most activity it had in a while with two sales in Mytton Grove over $10,000,000; one sale in Seacombe over $20,000,000 and two apartments in Bay St and Birdwood over $7m

Yes Monomeath Avenue appeared more like a Beijing railway station with all the comings and goings – 6 sales that we are aware of over $7,000,000. Yep 6 in the one street in a few months – WOW!

And finally Toorak, the hotbed of rumour, rumination and renumeration was in May 2015, actually living up to the hype and then some. For the only time in my living memory I think the facts were outstripping the hype and that is not easy with the guys we have to deal with.

Evangelist with a Gavel, Mr Smith sells 22 Halifax St Brighton for around $3million after a pass-in.

Evangelist with a Gavel, Mr Smith sings and sells 22 Halifax St Brighton for around $3million after a pass-in.

But that was May 2015 – this is May 2016.

Right now many off markets (which seem to be on the tip of every agent’s tongue at the moment) are in our opinion, not really for sale.

Many of the asking prices are more than courageous, they are decades ahead of their time AND many sellers are still living in the China of yesteryear (2015).

Most local buyers have noticed that Mainland Chinese activity has dampened considerably with FIRB tightening, the Big Banks new lending policies and the State Government tax increases – all good things – but it seems a number of our selling friends have not heard of this news yet. Cool – it’s a free country and owners are free to ask whatever they like.

But May 2016 is not May 2015 where the agent cell phone was answered when Xi came up on the screen and pushed through to voicemail when it read Smith.

In May 2016 the market is still incredibly healthy at auction – and if you have a $2m to $7m A-Grader and a market asking price, then at least remove the outer foil from the champagne, as you should sell well under auction conditions – there are buyers.

But if you own a $7,000,000 to $20,000,000 home and your price is only based on fantasy, with an expectation that the Shanghai express is still arriving in a street near you; then we suggest you need to think again.

The talk of $15,000,000 here, $8,000,000 there has an element of truth, a sniff of past glories and a sense of plausibility.

And of course there is a bloody good selling agent shovelling all those elements, sniffs and senses right into your psyche with fervour.

But for the most part that is all that off market has – elements, sniffs and senses – what it doesn’t actually have, is a buyer.

For us the question in May 2016 to those top end owners is; do you want to remain owners or do you want to actually become sellers?

In our opinion, the market is still in a forward gear and still strong – there are still great results – but the 2015 Asian turbocharge has long since dissipated.

What we are now experiencing from Asia on all levels; is healthy, logic based competition when we compete or careful, conservative buyers when we act for Chinese, Malaysian, Indian and Sri Lankan buyers as clients.

A friend of James Marketnews and serious name dropper – Mr Jack Bongiorno – best sums up the current May 2016 Market as one of Births, Deaths and Marriages – oh and Divorces in other words – a normal market.

That is, those that have to transact can; those that want to transact can; and that those that don’t want to transact don’t, as they continue dreaming up prices.

The May 2016 family homebuying market is a healthy and solid one on all levels and in most locations.

That is what it is.

What the May 2016 market is not – is an out control, scary market that we saw exactly one year ago.

The Voice of Doom

To finish, those that kept telling us of impending doom seem to have lost their voice – not because it cannot happen – but because most buyers and sellers have started to work out that their comments are based on  “what ifs”, on fear – they were not based on the current market truths.

If it happens – it happens – but it hasn’t yet.

In May 2016, demand is solid, supply is tight and prices are strong for A graders. No doubt we will hear from the “experts with their complicated stats” when it becomes a slow news day again.

Welcome back to James Marketnews – it’s good to be in the writing saddle again. Giddy up!

7 bidders were amongst this 31 Fawkner St South Yarra crowd. Actually there was a dozen, but 7 put their hand up for Tom McCarthy. Initial quote was high $2m's, on market low $3m's and the final gong under the hammer fell at $4,010,000.

7 bidders were amongst this 31 Fawkner St crowd. Actually there was a dozen, but 7 put their hand up for Tom McCarthy. Initial quote was high $2m’s, on market low $3m’s and the final gong fell at $4,010,000.


Read all 31 of our auction reports by clicking here

ARMADALE, 60 STUART STREET, Gowan Stubbings, Under Hammer, $4,825,000, 3 bidders
Auctioneer Gowan Stubbings, in front of a very large crowd of some 120 plus, calls this an…..

HAWTHORN EAST, 3 KILDARE STREET, Glen Coutinho, Under Hammer, $4,700,000, 3 bidders
What began as a quiet auction was very different from the ending. Glen Coutinho….

TOORAK, 17 LAMBERT ROAD, Mark Wridgway, Under Hammer, $4,255,000, 5 bidders
A large crowd gathered to watch Mark Wridgway and team get things under way and……………..


Read all 31 of our auction reports by clicking here

SOUTH YARRA, 31 FAWKNER STREET, Tom McCarthy, Under Hammer, $4,010,000, 7 bidders
The crowd waited in anticipation as the opening bidder asked if…………..

, 10 WIMBLEDON AVENUE, John Carter, Under Hammer, $1,875,000, 6 bidders
“Imagine calling up your friends to say you won Wimbledon!” ……

SURREY HILLS, 57 KENNEALY STREET, Peter Vigano, Under Hammer, $2,670,000, 5 bidders
I am not sure if auctioneer Peter Vigano had another auction afterwards

As we said one in three auctions were a bit of yawn today - this one at 25 Kirkwood Sandringham no exception.

As we said, one in three auctions were a bit of yawn today – this one at 25 Kirkwood no exception.


Read all 31 of our auction reports by clicking here

, 5 HEATHER GROVE, Passed In $3,100,000, 1 bidder

, 1 MANNING ROAD, Passed In, $2,500,000, 0 bidders

SANDRINGHAM, 25 KIRKWOOD AVENUE, Passed In, $2,410,000, 1 bidder


For us today we bought 4 from 5 auctions for clients with 2 bought before – Chelsea St Brighton (Mark Staples) and Gillies St Hampton (Kate Strickland) – 2 bought under the hammer at Fawkner St South Yarra (Tom McCarthy) and Brooks St Richmond (Russell Cambridge and Ed Hobbs). We missed at Lawson St Hawthorn East (Sam Wilkinson).

What did we learn? Not a lot, although Fawkner was right at the very top of price expectations (7 bidders) showing us the A-grade party is well and truly not over when the price is right. Our results today continue on from the 5 from 7 we bought in the auction weekend before Easter – the last Super Saturday type weekend.

These results are in stark contrast to our times in between these auction bookends. Sure there was Easter and Anzac Day; nonetheless the wheeling and dealing from us behind the scenes and away from auctions has not been anywhere near as strong as Easter breaks of the past years.

We know the market is healthy – we have increasing numbers of willing cash ready buying clients. The issue is, it seems to have got a little harder to find genuine non-auction sellers. And no we don’t think its just us – we think buyer amazement at non-auction asking prices is an increasing phenomenon across the board.

There are so many high end homes with higher-than-market asking prices, that in our opinion there is becoming a stock shortage of market priced high end homes, despite there almost being a glut of off-market homes on offer through agents.

If you are a genuine off market (that is totally private) seller, its not actually hard to sell, if you are at or near market price.

If you have access, contracts and a sensible price, then we are somebody to talk to. We have buying clients. James Buyer Advocates. Our office number is 9596 8822.

Below is a sample from our client lists. We do not charge you a fee (our buying clients pay us) and yes you can have a selling agent represent you. Just ring us and then we can bring a buyer to your door at no charge/no fee to you and also at a time that suits you. Ring us on 9596 8822 or 9804 3133.

Brighton Specific Newer Family Home 3.5m
Kew, Hawthorn, Hawthorn East, , Toorak and Armadale Glenferrie Road Spine up to $4m
Middle Park Renovator good land $3.0 mil
Hawthorn East, Malvern, Malvern East – Tram to South Yarra Land to Build ($2m) or renovated Home ($3m) up to $3m
Malvern & Surrounds home with a garage $3m shell / $4m home
South of Hampton St WOW home School – St Leonards $2.7m
Armadale, Toorak, Malvern 750-900sqm $4m Land or $6m home
Central Brighton WOW Family Home $4.5m
Port Phillip Townhouse/Home/No Reno $2.75m
Cheltenham, Highett, Sandringham, Glen Iris, Ashburton etc Investment – rent and good land $1.5m
Toorak Good family home $10M
Canterbury, Camberwell, Surrey Hills, Kew, Balwyn Family Home $2.25m
Northcote and Moonee Ponds Strong Period Facade $1.5 – $2mish +
67 Merton St Albert Park, Oliver Bruce, 2 bidders, Under the hammer, $2,925,000

67 Merton St Albert Park, Oliver Bruce, 2 bidders, Under the hammer, $2,925,000

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