oc | Monday 20th January

$1million with a good decision today

Is that Charles Dickens, no Its Peter Batrouney spinning his web to $4,501,000 at 16 Swinton Kew, under the hammer, 3 bidder - photo Hugh James

Is that Charles Dickens? No, but he’s the same vintage, Peter Batrouney spinning his word web to $4,501,000 at 16 Swinton Kew, under the hammer, 3 bidders – photo Hugh James.





Peter Kakos sells 11 Butler Street, Brighton under the hammer for $3,751,000, 3 bidders.


The overall market felt stronger today, at the end of May, than it did at the start.

We felt the market was drifting at the start and in the middle of May, but today the market was clear – price direction was strong.

Bidderman depth on the 26 A and B grade auctions we covered today was 2.5 bidders per auction. Strong.

In fact, 88% of the homes we covered had 2, 3 or 4 bidders – ie only 12% were Lone Rangers or Ducks.

The interesting statistic was the minimal volcano numbers – 17%. This is not totally surprising given that today was a Super Saturday stock wise – resulting in a greater spread of homes to bid on. However, we also think the low Volcano numbers indicated that stronger bidders were happy to get on with it – meaning they went past the lower bidders, before those lower bidders could put their hand up. If that is true, this shows there was a real confidence in the market today.

With the highest number of May auctions on offer today, we had more A and B graders to choose from; so Bidderman (2.5) and the James Clearance rate today of 77% were accurate indications of the quality end of the market.

In our opinion the overall market remains STRONG when on A graders and on some B graders, but weaker on some B and almost all C graders.

Hold on Mal – you said a fortnight ago and the week before that there was increasing uncertainty and the market was turning?

I stand by my comment that the market is turning – it is/has at the Top End and in the fringe area PPP’s – geographically, pricing and on many non-WOW homes. Homes with specific B and C grade PPP’s have seen significant buyer activity downgrades. Of course that may be a turn downwards, but it also may be a turn to drift or in other words just a tread (for a while) on the rising price staircase.

I accept that my comment on uncertainty a fortnight ago looks off the mark right now, even wrong; as the market today proved it was certain. Good A graders (good PPP’s) got love.

Anecdotally, let’s go back three weeks and look at our Market News special on B and C graders – we focused on pass-ins and we featured four auctions pictorially. Two of those four have since sold in Sackville Street, Kew and Rubens Grove, Canterbury – however two remain unsold in Carpenter Street, Brighton and Montalto Avenue, Toorak – so not everything is selling. True, this is not a big enough sample to base a theory on; but in my opinion, if you are not perceived as an A grader then you need to price well, as Rubens did post auction with a significant price reduction to get it away.

Our current belief on the market is that the low stock levels of A and B graders are supporting price. If quality stock levels significantly increase then it feels like demand may not be there to take it up. I had used the word uncertain to describe that feeling but today, and actually this last fortnight too,  that “uncertainty” was not there.

The Inner Melbourne market today and this past fortnight was clear and strong – so I can play the semantic game or I can declare the early May uncertainty an ancient history. The kicks in the guts we at James Buyer Advocates have felt in the last fortnight were not from an uncertain market.

Stay tuned for next week hey – I may be doing another back flip with a half pike – market sentiment is fluid!!

As the Overseas Asian market has diminished, who is in the Inner Melbourne Market’s engine room right now – who is driving/leading the local market – who is providing the End of May “certainty” that wasn’t there at the start of May?

For the first time in a very long time, the local market is being lead by the locals.

It’s local buyers who are providing the buoyancy and direction in the market recently.

1) Local buyers perceive that right now they have a real chance on quality A graders (eg they see the Overseas Asian market as now beatable) and they are going for it. The stats show this, the selling agents say this and we see it in our last fortnight’s results.

2) Many local buyers have significant income streams and/or capital reserves of their own and are back flexing muscles after last year’s auction and private sale drubbings by Overseas Chinese buyers.

3) There is a longer term confidence among local buyers to place that wealth into the A grade housing market for emotional and financial benefits.

The Local Big Three Drivers this last fortnight: Perceptions, Resources and Longer Term Confidence.

Market Takeaway: Strong Local Buying on Limited Stock is providing market buoyancy in the last fortnight.

The amount of money that is out there, is much larger than a decade ago, even a few years ago and is so significant (that in our opinion) we now have 3 distinct price markets:

Lower End  – which used to be sub $m – but now is $1m to $2m

Middle Tier – which used to be either non existent or say $2m – is now a clear separate $3m to $6m market

Top End – which used to be $3m plus but is now $7m to $10m and a fair bit more on some occasions


Anthony Grimwade

Bidders galore (5) with Anthony Grimwade,  3 Fairview Grove, Glen Iris under the hammer $3,365,000.


Canterbury, 14 Monomeath Avenue (Steven Abbott) – Under Hammer $5,110,000, 5 Bidders.
There was a rumble of excitement in the crowd as we awaited auctioneer Steven Abbott’s appearance.

Toorak, 50-52 Heyington Place (Justin Long) – Under Hammer $4,920,000, 3 Bidders.
A top-notch location always attracts interest and today is no exception, despite the gloomy weather.

Kew, 16 Swinton Avenue (Peter Batrouney) – Under Hammer $4,501,000, 3 Bidders.
Up in the hills of Kew sat number 16 Swinton, which drew a fair crowd on a cold day in Melbourne.

Click here for all 26 James Buyer Advocates auction reports


Glen Iris, 3 Fairview Grove (Anthony Grimwade) – Under Hammer $3,365,000, 5 Bidders.
A typical autumn noon – cold, light rain, and a cracking auction.

Camberwell, 17 Bringa Avenue – Under Hammer (Alistair Craig) price undisc., 4 Bidders.
“Hurry up, it’s gonna rain” was on everyone’s mind before the auction.

Hawthorn, 69 Urquhart Street (James Tostevin) – Under Hammer $3,105,000, 4 Bidders.
A good crowd of some 90 people spread around the intersection of Urquhart and Goodall Streets, some even being brave enough to stand on the island and discuss tactics (maybe)…

Click here for all 26 James Buyer Advocates auction reports


Camberwell, 40 Sunnyside Avenue – Passed In $5,000,000, 3 Bidders

Toorak, 37 Tintern Avenue –  Passed In $5,000,000, 0 Bidders

Kew, 25 Stoke Street – Passed In $3,500,000, 0 Bidders

Click here for all 26 James Buyer Advocates auction reports


40 Sunnyside Avenue, Camberwell passed in on a vendor bid of $5,000,000.


Another big week of activity at James Buyer Advocates (17 Bringa, Camberwell – Talia Tomaino and 107 Linacre Road, Hampton – Stephen Smith), to complete a very strong 30 days, in which we bought twelve homes and missed six with an average price around $3 million.

However, as we said above, we and some of our clients got a kick in the guts from some very strong local bidding on multiple occasions; including $4M plus in St Kilda East (Phillip Kingston – c’mon Phillip you’re making me cry – let me win one please) and Union Road, Balwyn (Simon Lord – another agent couldn’t sell it earlier at $3m and we were squashed at near $3.3m with Simon last weekend.)

Three stats you maybe interested in knowing.

1) Of the twelve we have bought in the last month – two have been in under the hammer situations. The other ten were off markets or bought befores/bought afters.

2) Of the six we missed – four we missed in under the hammer situations – two were missed as bought befores.

3) All our misses were basically in the last week. Whoever said if you see a good home, buy it now because next week could be a different story is a genius… Was that us who said that – have I got anything right this last week?

How to make a million dollars with a good decision?

We produced a series of articles last year for The Age and Weekly Review – they were among their highest visited webpages for these sorts of articles. It was entitled The Young Homebuyers Guide and one of the key focuses was,  how you can make a Million Dollars over 10 to 15 years with good decisions. You can download it from our website (click here), call our office for a hard copy 98043133 or read online at The Age (click here).

Below are not Young Homebuyers homes, however they show again how good decisions can make you a million dollars – only this time the pay back was in a day, not a decade.

Two homes in the The Golden Triangle Hampton:

17 Bolton St Hampton – click here for rating

22 Gordon St Hampton – click here for rating

Two great offerings, A-graders at Market Value – refer to our ratings.

We bid on both with Andrew Campbell, Stefan Whiting and David Hart – good agents and I’ve known and respected David for a long time.

We didn’t get either – no sour grapes, we just couldn’t go anymore – but the results bring up interesting conundrums on price and strategy.

We initiated both sales before auction with strong well placed offers and in both cases, while they didn’t put the home on the market, they started a volcanic process that erupted the combatants through to the surface – and into a visible gush, which resulted in a pre-auction process.

The observation is how differently the market viewed and ultimately priced two high quality offerings and how one split second decision would have made you a million dollars………. IF it met your needs.

Both properties were around 1000 sqm and both homes were within 100 metres or so of each other and both sold within the last month.

22 Gordon was bought as a block of land for $4m give or take, with a south facing rear (poorer natural light) – the very adequate period home will be bulldozed, according to the agents – for our client, we were looking at it for a home to cosmetically renovate.

17 Bolton was bought as a completed home for $5m give or take, which means the home was “valued” at $1m if you take the south facing land value of 22 Gordon. For the record, 17 Bolton was north facing rear (great light) and this was the only home I have rated over 900 for 18 months – it was that good and my “value” of home and landscaping was $2m give or take.

So both properties sold with the same skilled agents, before auction in a competitive environment – yet for all intents and purposes $1m in one pocket or $1m out of another pocket.

But is it as simple as that – did one sell well and the other sell poorly?

We don’t think so – we think they both sold well – for the buyers and sellers own specific reasons.

But if you didn’t know what you were doing, then you might have paid $1m too much for one.

If you did know what you were doing and it was what you wanted, then you might have got a $1m saving on the other.

With good property decisions there are millions to be made every week – you just need to know what you want and think your way through how best to get it.


Subscribe to our Market News Newsletter

Tags: ,

Be with James

Would you like to talk to us about finding or negotiating on your next home?
We buy 100 homes for our clients every year.
We buy Inner East and Bayside over $2m.
View more MasterClass Articles

Inside James Market News