oc | Sunday 23rd January

Big picture bleak, closer examination brighter!

20 Derby Street Camberwell - passed in $3,500,000 0 bidders

The market makes sense if you know what you are looking at – if you understand the home’s dynamics (its PPP characteristics).


Its 6pm Saturday, week one of our fourth and final 2018, 3-week 100 Auction, Inner Melbourne Family Home, Market Temperature Test. Try saying that a few times! The results above and supporting data below are self-explanatory.

Yes? No? Maybe?

Have you been to an auction, EOI or off-market lately – is it a bit hit and miss?

Not really. In fact, we are now in a very predictable market when 8 times out of 10 there is nothing hit or miss about the results.

It’s about Price – connected to the lack of cash from OS and the Big 4 banks, when compared to early last year.

But not all homes are dropping in price – many are, but not all!

So here’s a story – a precis of some of our experiences recently;

An off-market sold by the owner, an EOI and a boardroom auction.

One in Booroondara, one in Stonnington and one in Bayside.

All between $3 and $6 million.

If you looked at today’s results you would think “Mal, any buying deal for you is money for jam” and you should have got all three for your clients over the line, as you’re an experienced negotiator.

And you would be right, I am an experienced negotiator, but I mustn’t be that good because I didn’t get all three clients over the line.

In fact, we missed two and came within an absolute whisker of missing the third.

Off-market sold by owner –

For six months, we have been focused on an off-market in Grace Park – we took three separate clients through this home. The home had an asking price of early $7m’s – we say that because the price kept changing.

We advised all three clients that we saw value at $6m to $6.5m. Two clients came and went due to price and when finally we arrived with our third client after a promised price drop, we were beaten by another buyer, in the $6m to $6.5m price range.

We will make no comment on the actual negotiation as it could read like sour grapes and distract from the real message – which is:

Quality property above market price, didn’t sell – quality property at market price had multiple bidding, did sell.

Lessons learnt:

1) Whilst there are no absolute truths or cast iron values in life and even more so in property, this quality family home (property) north rear in a sensational location (position) was worth (price) $6m to $6.5m in 2017 and 2018. There has been no “market price” drop for this home.

2) Even if you have a quality home, when you seek to sell at your price rather than sell at the market price  – you may come a cropper (unlike 2017, 2016).

3) If you choose to sell the home rather than sell your dream price, then you will be able to sell in 2018, as you were able to in 2017, as you were able to in 2016.

Auction – Armadale

Price quote was $2.5m to $2.75m in the first week – it was legal, it was smart and it was baloney. The agent is a cheeky but smart agent in terms of price strategies.

Across the road, on nearly twice the land, a home had struggled to sell a month ago around the top end of this home’s quote – this made this home’s quote legal and got a hell of a lot of punters to the home – big tick Mr Agent.

One of those buyers initiated a boardroom auction (before the scheduled Saturday auction) which was held at the agent’s Colosseum.

Our main debate before we met at the Colosseum revolved around “Mal, but the market has dropped, look at the headlines”.

However, the biggest reason our clients didn’t buy this home was not “false noise” –  the biggest reason was the weight of numbers on the buying side.

There was trust and coherency – we worked well as a team and our clients recalibrated and recalibrated as we presented a few current examples contrary to the overall market noise.

Despite this being a single fronter and despite this market, we stated that this should set records for what it was. Our rating was 821/1000.

Back to the Colosseum – we got past six lions and I’m not sure if we were all Christians, but the last lion got us and we left the arena on the cart with the rest of the vanquished, after records were set – 8 bidders.

Lessons learnt:

1) This quality family home (property) north rear, in a sensational location (position), was worth (price) $3m to $3.5m in 2017 and in 2018. There has been no price drop for this home.

2) If you choose to sell the home rather than your dream price, then if you have a quality home, you will be able to sell in 2018, as you were able to sell in 2017, as you were able to in 2016.

EOI – Brighton 

We got this one – but it was a “s….fight” with another party probably being more pissed off than our clients, as they missed it by a whisker.

This happened in a Brighton market where today we covered six auction homes and not one of them sold – why you are still auctioning in Brighton (unless in exceptional circumstances) we do not know.

Anyway, I digress, back to our fight … the reason this all happened was some real quality architecture, a smart seller and a very skilled agent (happy to recommend the rascal).

This was one of our more difficult negotiations and we have had a few this year!

The reasons we nearly didn’t buy it – were outside noise, saying how weak the market was and the applying of that blanket statement to this quality building AND in fairness, we also were high on price.

The reasons we actually bought it – were primarily because the client really, really wanted to and because we as their advisors had missed the two above. We had conviction when talking to our clients. The smoke and mirrors behind the scenes in an EOI is unbelievable at times – we see it from both sides of the fence regularly.

Whilst you keep your cool for the client’s sake, the absolute bulltish that goes on in an EOI is monumental. HOWEVER (in our opinion) actually buying the home (rather than missing it and then later casting aspersions about the agent’s birth heritage) takes skill, experience and relationships  – you need to navigate the EOI swamps.

These are the sorts of jobs that whether we buy or miss, we end up smelling a bit, accused of all sorts of things by the underbidders (and sometimes maybe even thought by your own clients) and yet you did what was needed to be done, what was wanted to be done, at your lowest possible price and in a manner that whilst not stress free, was fully informing and in the end produced a successful outcome.

Possibly putting a little emotion through the keyboards on this one – we are still human, it’s fresh and it was challenging.

Lessons learnt – when you have a good home, with a good agent, a good selling method and some powerful competition, then in 2018, as in 2017, as in 2015 it’s still a “s….fight” at bigger numbers than you first hoped for.

Summary of the current auction market for Overpriced and B and C graders when compared to 2016/17

Pathetic – look at the clearance rates, 47% today – and the definition of seller insanity continues.

Today more than half the sellers have publicly advertised at a cost to themselves (average $20,000 – $30,000) – that their home doesn’t have any real interest – well not at the price on the internet. Why do they continue to auction and be recommended to take their home to auctions in these circumstances?

We just smile when a number of agents come to us and say how negative we are, how bad the overall media is, how rotten the banks are and that FIRB is stuffing things up for everybody. We smile because those same agents never look inwardly and say “hey bro, the market has changed, as any market does, maybe I should”.

It’s a simple fact that auction clearance rates would improve and so would the headlines if these same agents suggested more effective selling methods for the challenging (PPP’s) homes in this new 2018 market.

Summary of well-priced A-graders when sold well

“Same-as” on the right homes in 2018 compared to 2016/17 (A-graders). At the right price (market) with the right agent and right methods (rarely auction these days – look at Bidderman compared to 2017) – the market remains solid and looks unlikely to change in the short term.

Prices may not be going up like they used to, but they are not dropping.

To put our statements in a numbers perspective;

1) As you can see from our new James QRate we covered and initially assessed 55 homes last week, but we still only bid on three and we have a solid base of new clients, so goodies are hard to find.

2) Less than half the auctions we covered today had multiple bidding. Auctions by definition are about multiple bidders, so there are still many sellers getting either their agent or their price or both, absolutely wrong.


Lachie Fraser-Smith. 13 Yuile Street Ashburton. 4 bidders sold $2,810,000

Lachie Fraser-Smith. 13 Yuile Street, Ashburton. 4 bidders sold $2,810,000.

Kew, 34 Edgevale Road, Antony Woodley (Marshall White), Under the Hammer, $2,260,000, 5 Bidders

Ashburton, 13 Yuile Street, Lachie Fraser-Smith (Jellis Craig) Under the Hammer, $2,810,000, 4 Bidders

View all 34 reports here


7 Kingston Street, Malvern East. John Morrisby $4,850,000 2 Bidders

7 Kingston Street, . John Morrisby $4,850,000, 2 Bidders

Malvern, 37 Elizabeth Street, Andrew McCann (Jellis Craig), Under the Hammer, $5,850,000, 3 Bidders

Malvern East, 7 Kingston Street, John Morrisby (Jellis Craig), Under the Hammer, $4,850,000, 2 Bidders

Malvern, 89 Claremont Avenue, Rob Vickers-Willis (Marshall White), Under the Hammer, $4,016,000, 2 Bidders

, 17 Struan Street, (RT Edgar), After Auction, $4,000,000, 2 Bidders

Malvern East, 15 Kardella Street, (Marshall White), Under the Hammer, $3,820,000, 2 Bidders

Armadale, 2 Valentine Grove, Justin Long (Marshall White) Under the Hammer, $3,120,000, 2 Bidders

Toorak, 1 Gawith Court, David Volpato (Marshall White), Before Auction, Undisclosed

Armadale, 10 Hampden Road, Passed in, $5,700,000, 2 Bidders

Malvern, 39 Winter Street, Passed in, $2,000,000, 0 Bidders

Malvern East, 13 Kerferd Street, Passed in, $4,125,000, 1 Bidder

Malvern East, 22 Gillman Street, Passed in, $2,755,000, 4 Bidders

View all 34 reports here


6 Winson Green Road, Canterbury - Scott Patterson $3,800,000 3 bidders

6 Winson Green Road, – Scott Patterson $3,800,000, 3 bidders.

Kew, 27 Grange Road, James Tostevin (Marshall White) After Auction, undisclosed, 3 Bidders

Canterbury, 6 Winson Green Road, Scott Patterson (Kay & Burton), Under the Hammer, $3,800,000, 3 Bidders

Ashburton, 13 Yuile Street, Lachie Fraser-Smith (Jellis Craig) Under the Hammer, $2,810,000, 4 Bidders

Kew, 34 Edgevale Road, Antony Woodley (Marshall White), Under the Hammer, $2,260,000, 5 Bidders

Kew, 2 Berkeley Court, (Marshall White), Before Auction, Undisclosed

, 36 Athelstan Road, Passed in, $2,400,000, 0 Bidders

Camberwell, 20 Derby Street, Passed in, $3,500,000, 0 Bidders

Canterbury, 16 Irilbarra Road, Passed in, $3,075,000, 2 Bidders

Hawthorn, 9 Elphin Grove, Passed in, $2,850,000, 0 Bidders

Hawthorn East, 31 Broomfield Road, Passed in, $2,400,000, 0 Bidders

Hawthorn East, 36 Havelock Road, Passed in, $4,525,000, 0 Bidders

Kew, 3 Milfay Avenue, Passed in, $2,800,000, 0 Bidders

View all 34 reports here


248 Richard Street Middle Park. Simon Gowling Sold after auction $3,650,000 3 Bidders

248 Richard Street, Middle Park, Simon Gowling. Sold after auction $3,650,000, 3 Bidders.

Middle Park, 248 Richardson Street, Simon Gowling (Greg Hocking), After Auction, $3,650,000, 3 Bidders

, 6 Joyce Street, Torsten Kasper (Chisholm & Gamon), Under the Hammer, $3,215,000, 2 Bidders

, 60 Holyrood Street, Mark Earle (Buxton), After Auction, $1,900,000, 0 Bidders

Black Rock, 242 Beach Road, Belinda Anderson (Jellis Craig), Bought Before, Undisclosed

Brighton, 70 St Andrews Street, Passed in, $4,100,000, 0 Bidders

Brighton, 11 Selwyn Street, Passed in, $3,900,000, 0 Bidders

Brighton East, 4 Balfour Street, Passed in, $2,550,000, 0 Bidders

, 68 Edward Street, Passed in, $2,500,000, 0 Bidders

Brighton East, 7 Plunket Street, Passed in, $2,250,000, 0 Bidders

Brighton, 64 William Street, Passed in, $1,830,000, 2 Bidders

 View all 34 reports here


We were involved in three selling deals on behalf of buying clients this last week – one a wrap up after eight months, one had two bidders and still negotiating (stop press: deal done post-auction – well done Matthew Pillios) and one below. In recent times that is 23 from 23 sold for clients using our skills combined with those of the conjunctional selling agents.

Buying and selling – in this market you need smarts on both sides of the fence.

If you have a buying or selling issue, call Mal 0408 107 988 or Gina 0457 835 255 to see if we can help.

We buy homes and we manage the sale for our buying clients – that is our business at James Buy/Sell – it is totally transparent and it doesn’t have to cost you any more.

Our focuses are pricing, strategies and negotiations in this very different market, with the aim of you achieving better outcomes.



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We report again on November 17th after the Cup – Week 2 of the 100 Auction Test


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