oc | Sunday 23rd January

Lower Stock – Lower Dollars – Higher Bidderman – Surprise

It's not all doom and gloom - some strong"ïsh" results on very low auction numbers - this surprised a tad! 2 Ashburton Road Glen Iris. Zali Reynolds, under the hammer $2,510,000 3 bidders

It’s not all doom and gloom – a few strong”ïsh” results on very low auction numbers surprised all of us just a tad! 2 Road, Glen Iris. Zali Reynolds, under the hammer $2,510,000 3 bidders.

Today was the first real market test we have seen since March, as April was a holiday write-off and the auction campaigns had to start from scratch, post-school holidays. The best way to describe today’s market was, interesting. 

We were marginally surprised with the strength of today’s result but it’s a small sample and today of all days, proved that small samples aren’t always reflective of the wider mood (opinion polls v overall election result).

In May of 2019, there is almost no auction stock and the great majority of “Top End” auctions are now circle $2-3m.

  • Drought-like levels of low stock. May and October are traditionally the two biggest months for buying/selling but the current stock levels are worse than the GFC. Excuse my French, but we are seeing “bugger all” auction stock for buyers to choose from.
  • Almost non-existent levels of homes being auctioned much above $3 million.

The days of $5m auctions in 2016/17 were commonplace, contrasting in 2019 it’s an absolute rarity and for good reason – the Top End is where the significant reduction is bidder numbers per auctions hurts the most. Meaning on lower-priced homes 2 fewer bidders per home could mean dropping from 4-5 bidders (2016) to 2-3 bidders (2019) and a good auction is still possible – on higher priced homes (meaning further away from the median price which defines where most bidders are) then a drop from say 2-3 bidders in 2016 to 0-1 bidder in 2019 now sees a 2016 hot auction move to a 2019 pass-in/no sale.

This drop in bidder numbers is why many agents, especially in Boroondara  (, Kew, Canterbury etc) where the biggest Bidderman drops are being recorded are finally moving away from auctions to EOI or off-markets – in order to manage the fewer bidder numbers in a less public, and hopefully more positive way for their selling clients.

For example – in Boroondara in May you would expect to have a choice of say 70 Top End auctions most Saturdays, however today there was 17 to choose from. But it’s election day Mal! I don’t think it’s isolated to that reason, there is not much more next week or the week after. Only the “have to sell” have their homes on the market right now.


Why is the market interesting then Mal? With such low stock, you would expect a higher clearance rate due to an increased Bidderman on poorer supply. True, but I/we didn’t expect to see today’s statistical increase. So even now after it has all happened, it still surprises us a little – but maybe it’s the battle scars of the last 18 to 24 months.

Bidderman was 1.7  – well up from earlier in the year. Bidderman was more evenly spread over the 28 auctions we covered.

  • 5 Bidders – 1 auction
  • 4 Bidders – 2 auctions
  • 3 Bidders – 8 auctions
  • 2 Bidders – 3 auctions
  • 1 Bidder – 5 auctions
  • 0 Bidders – 6 auctions
  • 3 bought before

As well the James Clearance Rate on the 28 auctions we could find to cover today, was 79%  – that is a real figure.

However, let’s not read this as we are saying this is a market on the turn. We feel the market overall is not a 79% good one, but it does feel ever so slightly more positive than March!

We do acknowledge increased positivity in the market, as we are receiving noticeably more enquiry – but it is coming off a frightfully low confidence base of early 2019. 

We need more consistency before any sweeping statements are made AND we will need the banks to re-engage with their constituency – borrowers – before we see any sustained improvement in price, if  larger stock numbers of family homes hit the market post winter.

Stay tuned next week for week two of the 100 Auction May Test, to see if the market confirms today’s fillip as we head into winter or if the market today was simply a bug inches away from the 2019 market windscreen of life.


Bill Stavrakis - 3 Shirley Grove St Kilda East 5 Bidders

You’re on fire Bill! 3 Shirley Grove, East (Bill Stavrakis), Under the Hammer, 5 Bidders.

ST KILDA EAST, 3 Shirley Grove. Bill Stavrakis (Biggin & Scott), under the hammer $1,276,000 5 Bidders

GLEN IRIS, 1 Irvine Street. David Gillham (Noel Jones), under the hammer $1,805,000 4 Bidders

ASHBURTON, 12 Stocks Avenue. James Karantonis (Buxton), under the hammer $1,270,000 4 Bidders

Read all 28 Auction Reports here


James Tostevin - 13 Howard Street Kew. Bought after auction $undisclosed. 1 Bidder

James Tostevin – 13 Howard Street, Kew. This was an A-grader (see rating below) Bought after auction $undisclosed, 1 Bidder.

13 Howard

CAMBERWELL, 61 Prospect Hill Road. (Kay & Burton), after auction $ undisclosed 1 Bidder

KEW, 13 Howard Street. James Tostevin (Marshall White), after auction $ undisclosed 1 Bidder

GLEN IRIS, 2 Ashburton Road. Grayson Rayner (Marshall White), under the hammer $2,510,000 3 Bidders

, 12 Suffolk Road. David Gillham (Noel Jones), after auction $ undisclosed 0 Bidders

GLEN IRIS, 7 Vernon Street. Daniel Wheeler (Marshall White), after auction $ undisclosed  1 Bidder

KEW, 34 Campbell Street. Cameron Ingram (), after auction $1,710,000 3 Bidders

ASHBURTON, 17 Eleanor Street. Antony Woodley (Marshall White), after auction $ undisclosed 2 Bidders

HAWTHORN EAST, 3 Roseberry Street. Paul Walker (), under the hammer $ undisclosed 3 Bidders

Read all 28 Auction Reports here


16 Bent Street Malvern East. John Morrisby $1,429,000. 3 Bidders

16 Bent Street, Malvern East. John Morrisby $1,429,000. Under the hammer, 3 Bidders.

MALVERN EAST, 50 Sycamore Street. John Manton (Marshall White), before auction $ undisclosed

ARMADALE, 838 Malvern Road. Andrew McCann (Jellis Craig), after auction $ undisclosed 3 Bidders

MALVERN EAST, 16 Bent Street. John Morrisby (Jellis Craig), under the hammer $1,429,000 3 Bidders

PRAHRAN, 20 Park Road. Lauchlan Waterfield (), after auction $1,420,000 2 Bidders

GLEN IRIS (), 30-32 Vincent Street. Passed in $4,800,000 0 Bidders

MALVERN EAST, 75 Repton Road. Passed in $2,900,000 0 Bidders

MALVERN EAST, 33 Brunel Street. Passed in $2,760,000 1 Bidder

PRAHRAN, 38 Westbourne Street. Passed in $1,300,000 0 bidders

Read all 28 Auction Reports here


1 Herbert Street Albert Park. Simon Regan Dixon Kestles. Under the hammer $2,182,000 3 Bidders

1 Herbert Street, Albert Park. Simon Regan Dixon Kestles. Under the hammer $2,182,000, 3 Bidders.

BRIGHTON, 31 Huntingfield Road. Joe Doyle (Nick Johnstone Real Estate), under the hammer $2,969,500 3 Bidders

BRIGHTON, 145 Male Street. David Hart (Buxton), under the hammer $2,615,000 3 Bidders

ALBERT PARK, 1 Herbert Street. Simon Regan (Dixon Kestles), under the hammer $2,241,000 3 Bidders

BRIGHTON, 28 Durrant Street. Halli Moore (Buxton), before auction $1,950,000

, 240 Bluff Road. John Manton (Buxton), before auction $ undisclosed

MIDDLE PARK, 406 Richardson Street. Passed in $2,700,000 0 Bidders

BRIGHTON, 34 Rusden Street. Passed in $1,600,000 1 Bidder

BRIGHTON EAST, 167a Thomas Street. Passed in $1,600,000 0 Bidders

184 Ross Street. Passed in $1,370,000 2 Bidders

Read all 28 Auction Reports here


What we bought at auction today – 3 Roseberry (Anne Mackie) 3 bidders and 12 Suffolk (David Gillham) 1 bidder. Thank you to our clients for the trust, both went as predicted. This anecdotally supports our opening statements. We are buying $2-$3m homes at auction, but for $4m homes and above we are looking away from auctions.

3 Roseberry


12 Suffolk

12 Suffolk Road Surrey Hills. David Gillham, after auction $ undisclosed

12 Suffolk Road, Surrey Hills. David Gillham, after auction (undisclosed).


Hey, did we get these videos below right? Feedback to mal@james.net.au or 0408 107 988, please.

We think you are wanting more and more of your information from us via audio and video, a la the incredible success of QRates.

Values are such an important question in this market and we thought the video series may be a better way to present the issues as we saw them.

What’s your opinion of them? Feedback very welcome.

If you like them it was my idea and if you don’t, then Phoebe, Christina and Simone will be held to account.


The selling part of our James Buy Sell business does three things:

1) Gives our selling clients a better process to shortlist agents, interview, understand values, quoting, presentation, marketing options and agent commissions AND CAN ALL BE FREE* (by free* we mean, it can be no charge from us and can be no extra charge on your agent fee).

2) Gives our buyers on other homes far more leverage as we are a strong and consistent player on both sides of the market.

3) Gives our community a significantly larger donation flow to reduce homelessness (Over $500,000 since 2006).

Please click below or call our Bayside/Boroondara/Stonnington/Port Phillip office on 9804 3133. Mal 0408 107 988 mal@james.net.au


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