by Gina Kantzas and Mal James

Saturday, October 17th, 2020

Thank you, Dan, thank you, Michael, for your leadership and care. Thank you, fellow Victorians, hopefully, it’s all good as soon as it can be.


One thing that has been brilliant this pandemic and its sounds strange to say it has been the collaboration between government and a not-for-profit, Launch Housing (we’ve supported since 2003) in the area of homelessness.


What they have achieved together, gives us a lot of hope that things can get better in this very important area. We will have a report next week on what Launch Housing and one real estate company is trying to do to manage now and prepare for more temporarily homeless families in Melbourne in the future.


Hope to be back having a drink and a meal soon. Hang in there!


Meanwhile real estate is getting back to more and more ‘normal’ with the re-introduction of 10 person auctions announced this weekend.

Market in a Minute

What a really beautiful time in property, in fact what a really beautiful week, in fact what a beautiful Spring we have had so far. Some of us are so lucky.


It’s 4.30 am and I am sitting in my front room, my study, with the window open and a gentle breeze wafting through – the rain is making a comforting, repetitive noise and all feels like it’s only getting better in the world.


The scales tell me I am on my way down, significantly meaning ketosis and accidental or unnoticed fasting is reflecting a happiness in my gut, my heart and in my mind.


It has been a truly uplifting week with one twelve hour day, two other overly full ones and the rest. In the market we have seen a couple of circa $15million sales, a $25m last week, a $10m as well – all in a few days, partly evidencing that all 3 levels of the market we talked about last week could be back in vogue. Yes 3 or 4 sales at this level doesn’t make a Spring, but really it’s harder to have envisaged a brighter start a few months ago.


And to the lower $ levels – I don’t think you need a list of sales to prove that your market has started. If you’re there, then you know the pressure is building should you find the home you want and it’s half decent and its sort of make sense, price wise.


And what of the middle market, the $3m to $6m price bracket – the canary in the gold mine – what’s cooking? That market is also showing real signs of a post pandemic revival, as most agents predicted.


Three clear indicators that the Spring birdsong is enveloping many, not all, but more than you may think.


Agents are positive – agents believe it or not, are great poker players when focused on the game – which is you and me and transacting. That’s their game and many times it’s a lot more noble, a lot harder than many spectators think. However away from the playing field, after returning and recrossing their white line – agents like all of us, will let their guard down – they whine and moan as we all do on how tough things are, if indeed they are tough.


There is surprisingly little negative talk out there from agents and it’s not fakery, it’s not bravado in the face of fear. There is in fact a general mood of optimism at the higher and middle levels, where we operate.


Buyers – our phones are a barometer and seldom, if ever can I remember them giving us a false reading on the litmus paper, that they provide in terms of underlying demand. Put simply, as indicated last week – they continue to ring – yes we are micro, but little things grow and a few calls this week, a few sign ups and a few more clients into bid, mean the eco system as we talked about last week, is regenerating.


And finally sellers – the third piece in the triangular puzzle – they are looking for change – be it fear of next year, be it completing something they started this year or be it simply that a few months couped up considering life has invigorated a change – either way, things are happening.

And so you as a buyer or seller can

  • stop and hide or
  • watch and wait or
  • go and try.


This month an agent and a person I really like, Andrew James (no relation) showed us 18 Cawkwell St Malvern – it’s an average street in an improving area – a part where Malvern touches Glen Iris – Tooronga Road (which coincidentally in indigenous speak means modern or new). The home is on an OK sized block and the yard has a pool and is not overly big.


However the building is a beauty, really well built, lovely flow and open living, good bedroom separation, a mud room, study and …… They are the practicals, but the feel is what worked for us – the light, the windows, the flow…….. it all works – the façade…….


Anyway the quote is mid to high $3m’s and Andrew said there would be interest and it wouldn’t go the distance (EOI end of month) – he is right, as an offer has materialized on a contract towards the higher end and the deal will be done Monday.


If you remember our Stage 4 report a couple of weeks back, deep into lockdown – there was an agent feeling of positiveness and an across the board agreement that A-graders would be subject to shorter and successful campaigns. This is happening.


So yes there are some incredibly well researched, all logical and meaningful statements by learned economists and such, on the dire nature and impending doom of Melbourne life




there are the buying and selling agents on the ground, the buyers and sellers and the market reality.


If I was looking to buy or sell a property, I know who I would be listening to right now.


It’s 5.15am – 45 minutes to write – no edits, no spin, this is what we’ve seen this week.



When thinking of north light, I always remember my great Aunt Fonnie.  She lived in a wonderful but dark Federation home with a small enclosed rear ‘sunroom’.  Not a winter’s day ever passed without her saying, while sipping tea and knitting bathed in warm winter sun, “I’m so lucky to have that window on the north”.


Ideally, we prefer to buy properties with a north facing rear, as this allows living areas not only better access to winter sun, but also the ability to shade the summer sun.  Research shows that adequate natural light improves mood and energy levels.  Good orientation of your home won’t just feel nice on a winter’s day, it can also make a home more thermally comfortable and energy efficient.  So, it feels good and can save you money on your energy bills!


The only problem is, not all lots can have a north rear and those that do, can come at a premium price. If you insist on only a North rear, you could be missing out on some other great properties.  It is also worth remembering that whilst we may want winter sun in our living areas, we don’t necessarily want sun penetration in all rooms of the house.  Light from different orientations can create a different ambience.  Daylight from the south is diffuse, neutral and soft.  This can be beneficial in bedrooms, studies or media rooms where glare is best avoided.


There are numerous ways to access north light and the benefits of winter sun, no matter what the orientation of your property.  If renovating or extending consider if the property can introduce courtyards, clerestory windows or skylights. Additions can be oriented to create windows on the northern orientation. (see sketches above). New builds can be positioned on the lot to best access the winter sun and avoid the strong afternoon west sun.  When inspecting properties look to see what rooms have north facing windows and if the rear living faces south, does it have windows for morning or afternoon sun?


And remember Great Aunt Fonnie, if the whole house doesn’t get the winter sun, make sure you make the most of the room that does!

Three days ago Susmita rang me to ask for help in fees for her MBA in Health Administration, she is doing at Kaplan in the Docklands, Melbourne. She asked to borrow the money, we felt that was too great a burden on her and her family and her village.


This is her story and it’s a really, really good one for her, for her family – for Nepal and for all of us.


We have a GoFundMe page set up for Susmita from Nepal MBA Education Expenses – we’ve never done one before – feedback is welcome


Susmita Magar is an inspirational young woman from Nepal, who completed her nursing degree with distinction in Nepal and came to Australia to get a Masters in Business Administration in Nursing from Kaplan Business School in Melbourne.


When she completes her MBA – Wow what an addition to the Nepalese health system, which is getting better as more locals, get more qualifications.


Susmita has done everything to date under her own and her family efforts – asking for no help and getting no funding or scholarship.


Susmita has already overcome

  • getting from her village to tertiary education in Nepal
  • and being a woman,
  • English not her native language
  • Completing her nursing with distinction
  • Getting to Australia with her family’s help – no scholarship
  • Part funding her MBA and living here herself working odd jobs


Then the pandemic hit her country and there is no work for her father/family in the trekking industry (that’s how we know Susmita – her father took us up to Everest Base through World Expeditions – have you travelled and trekked and want to provide long term help? – here is one way)……………..


Please read her story it is inspirational and by giving just a bit – you will have donating smarts…. Susmita can help an extra 1000 people in her lifetime, maybe a lot more with an MBA in health – that’s $29.90 a life change. Good value….. and in the poorer countries, no jobkeeper, if you don’t help, then nobody picks up the slack……this is not charity per se, this is smart business practice – back Susmita please…..


Click here and thank you


Go Fund Me is a world-wide reputable fundraiser and only 3% of the money you give goes in costs. The rest will pay for Susmita’s MBA. She has already started studying and started paying for the course – she is a qualified nurse in Nepal.


Please read her story and donate and we will be very grateful.


Click here and thank you


Or put on your Socials please


Over $7,000 of the $29,900 has been raised in the first 48 hours. Thank you to all.

Please donate like many others who read this newsletter have and let's help Susmita get her MBA in Health, for herself and for Nepal and for all of us. Let's make a big difference.

Verify: We will provide proof of MBA education payment to all donors. Susmita will still take on odd jobs to survive. We have seen her exam results, the MBA costs (she’s already partly paid). It’s very real, but we are now her only option to complete it. Thank you.