oc | Thursday 23rd January

Hard to believe we are knee deep into Early Spring!

Inside James

G’day and welcome back to James Market News. Hope you all had a break from the Melbourne winter!

My break was with my youngest daughter, Maddie, in the Top End at Fitzroy Crossing, Kakadu and Kooljaman, Cape Leveque. Aboriginal people know a lot more about and its  than many of us “new migrants”.

Hard to believe it’s been almost two months since our last confession here at James Market News and it feels early to be knee-deep in amongst spring homes – but we are – having this week bought a home in , for a past client.

Boston Road Balwyn (Arthur Korf)

Bought by James. Boston Road Balwyn Auction (Arthur Korf). 3 strong bidders

We finished the financial year with basically our best year ever; this included a fresh-look website, successful restructure and improvement in the way we work. This new financial year has started positively and we are excited for the new market.

We are now sifting through quite a few pre markets, off markets as well as on market properties.


This week in James Insight;

  • Inside James and our Property Insights
  • Market Commentary; New quoting laws and Auction Reports
  • Opinion : The Conversation is Changing; , Markets & Advice


Property Insights

Below is a sample of where our advocates went today.

Full Home Ratings and buyer reports are available (for our clients) and below are our Property Insights for all;


Inner East green banner


2 Westley Street – The immediate impression is a good one and it flows through the home. Clever extension to rear and the remaining yard relates strongly to the living areas. Secondary rooms are well located in a tidy floorplan. Could be a tad close to Barkers Road for some buyers.

10 Rosslyn Street – on first look it’s nothing spectacular and it’s a double storey south-facing rear. On a second look – I still felt the same. Dollars – this to me is land value with a free modern home. If it’s not, then you can do better.


24 Kent Street  – really classy 3/4 family home – should go over $3 million and while it’s Kew B-grade (sort of) it is still Melbourne A-grade in terms of school access. Garaging is disappointing – but the living areas and indoor/outdoor are right up there for this price range.


30 Deepdene Road – This home is weird but it’s good weird – I really like it. Yes it has faults like no car garaging but the home for some weirdos (like me) really works.

Stonnington Purple banner

South Yarra

200 Walsh Street – it’s a goodie – yes it needs a spruce up – but one of the better townhouses going around and location to die for (almost).


30 Warner Street – Bolt hole, lock and leave for smaller families providing the price is right – which has been reduced – nothing grand, but worth a look circle $2m.

7 Isabella Street – I reckon its best use is as James suggested – medical surgery.


Malvern East

3 Rothesay Avenue – Distinctive home from the street and a bit discreet at the same time. Nicely balanced and cosy and a modern interior without feeling up to the second. It’s bright and interesting to move around. An absolute gale was blowing outside yet it felt truly cosy upstairs and down. Very likeable home.

24 Turner Street – 832 sqm in the right part of Turner Street. This big home actually feels like a genuine family home not a show piece with plenty of choices for separate living as well as big bedrooms in the roof which is not often found.

34 Kerferd Street – 736 sqm in one of the best streets in the Gascoigne Estate. This single-level home doesn’t look like the others. If you can see past different and appreciate the flexibility in the floorplan as well as the bonus double car access into a big garage, you may be buying well.


48 May Road – Freestanding Victorian terrace facade with a completely new home behind is move in ready while lacking some character. Two doors down from Woolies car park isn’t the ideal position.

Bayside Blue Banner

South Melbourne

426 Dorcas  – Where else do you see a 4 bedder quoted sub $2m in Port Phillip – smallish but worth a look.


Elwood Off Market today – 482 sqm in a good location but with an almost unrecognisable Californian Bungalow on it. Vendor wants a price which includes the home, we say it’s land value!

4 Kendall Street  – Modern finishes have updated this Edwardian home. It is move in ready but has the potential to be further improved in the future. It’s a shame that the combined bathroom/laundry block views and access to the back north-facing garden.  Handy to have off street parking.


39 Crisp Street  This home feels like the Brady Bunch have come to Hampton. Lots of room over two levels in this 1970s time capsule. Scope for renovation or redevelopment.

2a Collins Street – A large family home masquerading as a townhouse.  Quality finishes, good sized rooms, a pool and a basement. This home will appeal to overseas buyers.

12 Lawrence Street – Neat home that fees like a town house. Easy rear access from Adamson Street. Convenient to Church Street.


30 Shoobra Road – This feels like a renovation done well. Slick and modern with impeccable styling. Great for someone who wants move in ready with up to the minute interiors. Good north light but families may want for more outdoor open space.

18 Elizabeth Street – Neat family home on a low maintenance block. High ceilings and some period features but feels a bit tired.

34 St Georges Road – A time capsule from the 1920s. This has room for a family to live in now and the ‘bones’ to carry a renovation and extension that could let in more light and bring the home up to date. Will need to balance purchase cost with renovation costs.

8 Prentice Street – Pretty as a picture weatherboard Edwardian that steps down to a hip, modern kitchen and living.  An elegant feeling small family home on a low maintenance block.

Market Commentary Banner

Today’s James Market News is a bit of hotchpotch as we start to give you an early idea on what is happening post winter to Inner Melbourne’s Million Dollar-Plus market.

The early spring auction market campaigns have started and we will see strong auction weekends in August however for today and next week, it’s just a few actual auctions; as most agents chose not to run their pre-auction marketing campaigns through school holidays when many buyers were away.

The New Quoting Laws

The new quoting laws and the Statements of Information are working a treat – big improvements. Sure its not perfect, but it is so much better, than before.

Let’s be thankful for small mercies and let’s be positive – it’s a lot better.

Okay we know it’s early days, but we congratulate Consumer Affairs, and the agents who are making a sincere effort to give more accurate guides (while of course representing the seller over the buyer, as they are charged by the Estate Agents Act to do).

Over the next two months you will hear more on this subject as we test the Statement of Information in our August/September 100 Auctions Test.

78 Fordham Road Camberwell - Big crowd with no real action - See James Auction Report below

78 Fordham Road – Big crowd with no real action – See James Auction Report below

78 Fordham Avenue, Camberwell Auction Report ( Mal James)

Really quaint Olde English period home – across from the railway and quoting around $2.5m on 633 sqm.

Good crowd around 80.

Stephen Gough and Duane Wolowiec the local selling agents with Antony Woodley our auctioneer.

And so after his usual concise and melodic (comforting) introductory spiel we are away.  

Slow start – calling for a $2.4m or $2.5m start – nothing and so a vendor bid is placed at $2.4m and basically that was it.

No interest from the crowd – a half-time break comes and goes and it’s passed in on the opening vendor bid.

41 Imbros Street, Hampton Auction Report (Kathy Russell)

A Californian bungalow that has undergone a number of changes over the years, up for auction today. This home sits on one of the largest lots in the heritage protected Castlefield precinct. It would benefit from an update so it’s worth comparing to the fully updated home at 46 Imbros Street.  

Over 100 people attended the auction by auctioneer Stephen Tickell.

The home sold for $2,515,000 after swift bidding by three bidders.

Land Prices

178 Princes St Port Melbourne (Jon Kett and Sam Gamon). Land Only of some 324 sqm. Sold at auction today for $2,730,000 . That says land value is $8,400 per sqm in Port Melbourne and we agree.

178 Princes Street, Port Melbourne (Jon Kett and Sam Gamon). Land Only of some 324 sqm. Today a volcanic auction of 6 bidders, after being on the market at $2,020,000 and selling for $2,730,000. That says land value is $8,400 per sqm in Port Melbourne and we agree that is an accurate measurement. Mal James

30 Sunnyside Camberwell (Michael Richardson) sells under the hammer for $3,060,000 - 3 bidders.

30 Sunnyside Avenue, Camberwell (Michael Richardson) sells under the hammer for $3,060,000 – 3 bidders.

30 Sunnyside Avenue, Camberwell Auction Report (Mal James)

A crowd of about 50 – more a reflection of its auction timing than anything else? Maybe not – maybe a reflection it has a Heritage overlay

It’s a bulldozer job on 836sqm – but it has a Heritage overlay.

Quoting around $3m – Michael Richardson the auctioneer presiding. Anyway off we go – Michael has a good strong voice for what is a very windy day.

This is all about Heritage land versus land without Heritage – a direct copy of this block sold two doors down the road in December – but it had no Heritage. 

2 doors down at 38 Sunnyside - sold late last year for $3,620,000 or $3,900 per sqm. As you can see No Heritage.

2 doors down at 38 Sunnyside – sold late last year for $3,620,000 or $3,900 per sqm. You can see No Heritage – as they are building – picture taken today.

Michael calls for $2.85m – no response and so a vendor bid is placed.

Bidder 1 in at $2.9m.

Nothing like the excitement of seven months ago – but it does have a Heritage overlay.

Surprisingly, the auctioneer vendor bids above the $2.9m to $2.95m and Bidder 1 comes back in.

Bidder 2 in at $3m.

Slowly Bidder 1 to $3.025m.

And we are down to $10s – thousands that is. Bidder 2

Michael adds it’s like pulling teeth – he is doing a good job at keeping momentum in a difficult auction.

Bidder 1 comes back at $3.05m.

Half-time break called – a longish time inside and the Fletchers team return.

It’s not on the market says Michael.

Bidder 3 is in at $3.06m and it’s announced on the market.

After considerable effort and no more bids it’s sold under the hammer at $3,06m.

836 sqm for $3,060,000 is $3,660 per sqm.

Some may say the market is easing – not on this result – this 10% discount to the one two doors down is due to having a Heritage Overlay- which can be anything up to 20% discount when compared to non-Heritage land.


The Conversation is Changing

Spring 2017 the Melbourne property conversation is changing and I feel it is better for buyers.

In the 1980s we had isolated property information – what you heard about property, you heard from your uncle or possibly your local agent.

In the early 2000s we had information but a lot of what we were given was not from a sound footing.

The internet was starting.

Since the GFC we have seen a huge increase in information about property. We at James Buyer Advocates were focused on bringing real buyer information to the masses through our ratings and our weekly market insights and now, in many ways, a lot of our work is no longer supplying additional information but guiding buyers through the swamps of buyer information that exists.

Information has become like Melbourne’s traffic – way too much of it – slowing processes down util eventually many users (buyers) are facing gridlock.

Gina Off Market


Are you finding every organisation has an opinion on value? If you want to buy a home, you can get an ANZ home ready report, a realestate.com.au property report, a relestateview.com.au report to name three of maybe ten reports.

Currently, with this information you can “narrow” the value down on a typical double-fronted weatherboard home at 4 Glendora Avenue, Brighton to between $1.3m and well over $2m.

Alternatively, you can get a report on “values” on a newish home on Scotch Hill, Hawthorn (83 Kooyongkoot Road) somewhere between low $4m’s and mid $6m’s.

Yes it’s all information and yes it’s all very colourful and yes its all FREE. But of what use is it to you if all these reports do is narrow down estimated pricing to a whopping 50% gap variance range.

It makes the agents’ quotes positively “accurate”.

Who are the authors of these reports? What are their qualifications? Have they actually been to the home they are giving you an opinion of value on? Yeah, that’s right, have they actually visited the home? There are no signatures on these reports, no authors and if you read the disclaimers, no responsibility.

Should they be covered by consumer affairs? If this was a business or a stock, would the advice you are receiving, free or otherwise, have to have some care of responsibility?


This year we all witnessed a respected economist get up at The National Press Club and tell young people not to buy homes but to wait. We have seen a well known international bank tell us that the market will fall because…… well because they put it on a droopy graph with evidence that made no sense.

Our flagship newspaper tells us the market will fall; supporting their opinions with current evidence that the market will rise, but that they are ignoring that evidence and predicting the market will fall anyway.

If I have learnt anything this year it has been that property reporting has now become like show biz reporting. A headline, an unnamed sourced comment and a supposition that something sinister is about to happen, because…….. well…… just because…….. no reason and most of the sources have a Hollywood track record on property predictions anyway.

This is just a Mal Hollywood headline you say.  Mal, aren’t you being a bit negative?

I am and fair call. Let me say here the Melbourne Property market is an exciting place to be and the “financial” future looks rosy for the rest of my lifetime and probably well beyond. Unless the things that drive our market change!

If I could only in one thing, then I would in quality Melbourne homes with characteristics that have shown over the last four decades (my buying time) and the last twelve decades since Federation and the last three centuries in other parts of the world to be winning family home characteristics.



Guilty as charged – I have tried to provide a fair bit of it for buyers in these columns since 2006 – and maybe you don’t find it all helpful or maybe you don’t agree with it. That’s fair enough.

But please their seems more and more advice coming from so many different sources and so much of it from sources or authors that we have no idea about – where are they coming from? What is their experience? How good is this advice?

Boasting again as I lead into some more advice  – I have bought over 1000 family homes (and I reckon there are only five other Melburnians who have done that) and here are three of the biggest rubbish bits of property advice that I am constantly reading lately:

1)   Get as much information as you can

2)   Establish a strict limit at auction

3)   Don’t get emotional

When somebody writes that in an advice piece for you then the alarm bell should ring in your ears, that this person hasn’t a real clue how to buy good family homes and not one iota of experience in Melbourne auctions or off-markets.

You don’t need all the information you can get (somewhere between 1 and 21 pieces of the right information would be my best advice) and while almost all of it will eventually morph itself into a dollar expression – that riff, comes pretty late in the tune for me.

Strict limits tend to buy only what nobody else wants. Think about it.  And you need to not just focus on an actual auction if you want to buy well – sheep don’t get a good deal by running up the same race with everybody else.

And thirdly, if you can’t get emotional and interpret, understand and harness your emotions, then you likely will not be as “successful” in life, let alone Melbourne property.

Get emotional!!! For every one person I see go too far, I see ten, maybe even a hundred who do not go far enough.

Warning to young first home buyers: Do not read what I am writing here as permission to exceed a bank limit – get financial advice before you contemplate accepting a bank imposed limit or purchase subject to finance if that is an option. The advice about limits is directed at buyers with significant financial sources in the higher end market.

And so the conversation is changing was our headline?

Yes it has, and is – now we are starting to talk about:

1)   Population and its management through migration

2)   Public transport and its infrastructure

3)   The young and what their world will look like in 20 to 50 years

These are articles I read over the winter break and they were in the Mass Media.

YAY – real thought, real content, not just flamm.

As well, authors were coming out and saying the market was unlikely to crash as Melbourne’s property financial fundamentals remain sound for now.

Sure do!!

So is the Property Media maturing? Are we going back to talking about bigger picture – not that the property market went up or down in the last two milliseconds.

Hope so.

The market is the market. It will rise and fall in the short term and yes it may even crash – but how does that information help you if all it does is freeze you?


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