oc | Tuesday 26th May

Virusolatility

22 Epping, Malvern East – Rae Tomlinson and Fiona Ansell-Jones. Passed in within the quote and a big powerlift post-auction.

  1. Market

  2. Mindset

  3. Medical

Today’s auctions to complete our 100 auction test – randomly selected yesterday.

Our 2020 Opening Market, 100 Auction Test, over 3 weeks across Boroondara, Bayside+Port Phillip and Stonnington had an average clearance rate on the 100 auctions of 66%.

Ok, you say but look how it came. Down Up Down.

Volatility is the canary sign of impending change.

Is this the new normal?

A tough day at the office?

Not really!

So this is a new territory?

Not really!

It’s the 7th serious knee jerk in 12 years. This is so 2008, so 2009, 2011, so 2015, so 2016 and so like 2018.

Are we in a coronavirus market? Yes, AND we are in what is increasingly becoming our normal market – which is one of volatility.

Is it the coronavirus which is causing the volatility? No, coronavirus can’t buy and sell property and shares, only humans can. The virus is exacerbating the volatility at present but look at the headlines of last year and the year before – volatility was the keyword – volatility sells papers, attracts eyeballs and clicks (not trying to play down the importance of this coronavirus).

What will happen? 

Nobody knows for sure what will transpire, but in the movies we have seen before, the sun comes up tomorrow and then goes down again after that.

Like climate change, this is the new normal. “Shocks” as in climate, financial, terrorism, religion, virus – are all things we react to and are things which will level out. Many think – yeah, but it has never been as bad as this.

When the majority stop thinking that – things will level out.

If we’re wrong –  you can tell us that at the pearly gates – if you get there, we’ll be there for sure…

This is not the first coronavirus we’ve had and although we are not blasé about it – look below for the preventative steps we have taken  –  let’s do what we need to do and then get back on with as good a life as possible. This point is not to belittle the suffering, it is to try and help reduce it.

Talking property for many is now scary. As said in the video above, last week none of our buyers put pen to paper to offer when they could have. This week, out of our four auctions; two failed to make it to the barrier, one fell at a hurdle and No. 4 got past a volcano of bidders to be victorious. However, the moon and stars were still there last night.

We have no right to tell you how to think or how to feel; everyone’s feelings are legitimate. Our only advice in these times revolves around how to buy or sell if you can manage your emotions.

There are and will be more opportunities – we are sorry some of those opportunities will come from others’ hardship.

We can show you what has happened after every time of “shock” before. We can show you what to do. We can help you if you want to buy or sell. We can also move on as well, if that is your overriding desire, as we have done several times this month.

The market will tank somewhat. In fact, C-graders have probably already “lost 5%, maybe 10%” in one week. Yep, if it was unsold and you could have got $3m last week, this week we reckon you’d get $2.8m. The difference between our opinion and the stock market is well – actually not much – they are all opinions. The Top of the Top End is like an airline booking office right now and …….. BUT hey, that’s only part of the market – so yes, there is negativity out there.

However, as the A-graders proved today, quality in the lower $ parts of the market has yet to miss a beat.

Any market tanking will be about Position and Property but it will also be about Price. And for the $2m and below market many of you will not really miss that beat for a while yet (if indeed at any time in this virus phase) even if ½ the bidders drop off. If you’re an A or B-grader at $1m or $2m and something and priced Ok, then sure you no longer have 10 bidders, but 5 bidders still makes for a hot auction. Of course, if auctions are stopped, then that changes this commentary for now.

We don’t know what Bidderman was today as we chose not to send staff out to cover the auctions, but there are fewer actual bidders today than there were last week – that feels obvious – and some will have disappeared for now – even if they still attend open for inspections.

So what are we saying?

You can’t choose your virus, but you can choose your mindset.

And what are we feeling?

Let’s all take care out there of ourselves and each other and let’s keep living our lives as best we can.

Davide Lettieri, an old fat bloke, a couple of nice younger people all at 12 Adeney, Kew. With all the noise this week, must have been a pass-in. No, it was a volcano $350,000 over the top end of the quote.

So specifically this is our property advice right now

Firstly please take care of yourself and others.

Buying Only:

It’s a “Yes please” if the home is what I really want and a “No thanks” if it’s not. This remains our consistent advice over the last 20 years.

If you are getting into the market at a higher level or trading up, then this market could be 10% better for you than a week ago and for some isn’t that half your savings or you know what I mean…..

Has the market got a way to fall? In the short term, probably yes BUT if you can pick the market and know where it’s going, then you are a better/smarter man or woman than we are…

Selling Only:

We wouldn’t advise selling right now unless it was part of a buy. We suggest you would wait and be prepared to wait the year out and maybe a bit longer. Now the market might go better a lot earlier, but if it was continuing to fall and you had to sell soon anyway, then we suppose waiting wasn’t that smart. Be clear, crystal clear on what you are trying to do and then hold to it.

If you were looking to sell at say $5m and above and unless it was a cracker and you priced it to sell – we suggest putting your cue in the rack in 2020, AND not taking the chalk out again until at least 2021. Again if we’re wrong, review. Even before the virus shock we didn’t see the depth of bidding there like a few years ago, at this price level and now due to business and travel dynamics changing, there will be even less.

Off-market and patient campaigns do seem a more satisfactory option for many when over say $5m – but for buyers to believe you are real, you will need your 4 off-market ducks to line up.

A question for our industry is do sellers want groups of people coming through their homes, as we reach a new phase in this pandemic?

If yes, what will your protocols be – an important question in choosing an agent?

Buy / Selling:

Downsizing; Life is short – and let’s not speak with forked tongue. We don’t like this market as much at the moment, when compared to a few months ago – You will be “losing” money on the sell and good buys are harder to find.  So, if you’re downsizing you need to do it smartly – a better way could be to wait if you can – but waiting may be some time.

Upsizing: Wow! This is manna from heaven except your dream home is harder to find. But if you can find it, then the market is on your side.

Like for like: Hey forget the buy price and forget the selling price. Think about the changeover price. If it’s the same as last week or in two months, then how is this a bad market? Simple: It’s not.

Like our climate, the market is changing and so are you.

Be prepared, not scared and chill a little. Staying focused on your real goals is the only really good advice we can give right now.

Please listen to the expert’s advice but after that what about the noise? – you can listen or you can not – that’s your choice. Perhaps life still needs to go on.

9a Tower, Surrey Hills – Richard Earle and Greg Toogood – $2m – 2 bidders.


Practically Speaking in our Real Estate environment – Coronavirus

This is a little poster we prepared for ourselves and our charities last week.

As agents, we perhaps need to be responsible not only for ourselves but also for our community.

We are natural spreaders of the virus due to our level of contact.

When considering our role in prevention, maybe it should not only be about receiving, but also about spreading.

We welcome and will follow new expert advice from our governments and any additional suggestions.

This is what we are doing – following as best we could work through from W.H.O. guidelines (World Health Organisation)

We will now be following the Australian government’s medical expert advice.

  1. We stopped going to any Open for Inspections two weeks ago unless specifically for a client.
  2. We stopped Auction reporting two weeks ago.
  3. We introduced hand sanitiser two weeks ago having bought enough to last for some time.
  4. We stopped handshaking this last week and stopped taking brochures and tried to limit touching surfaces at open homes.
  5. This week for our clients aged over 60 we move to phone contact only – except for contract signing and we will take extra sanitising precautions for all other clients.
  6. We seriously reduced face to face meetings internally and externally – phone is fine.
  7. Gina, Mal, Simone, Randall and Kathy from next week do not attend the same meetings.
  8. We have already split ourselves into 5 pods as we are a smaller company and cannot afford to shut our doors if one of us has a coronavirus issue and others stay open. By having separate pods if one is sick – the others can continue, until any government directive.
  9. We have made budget trims.
  10. We talked positively about opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for buying only and selling only and buy/sell clients.
  11. We talked about opportunities and challenges for our business.
  12. We talked about – well us older ones did – ‘been there done that’ and seen this movie before. We talked about attitudes and mindset.

We feel our role for our clients and for our staff and fellow Australians is to follow government expert advice (no cheating) and to stay calm.

We think our politicians on both sides of the fence are acting responsibly and cohesively – well done and we support you and thank you.

We also thank all the doctors and health professionals out there, you are doing a great job informing us and helping us. Thank you.

Coronavirus screening clinics have been established at 12 Melbourne hospitals. As of March 14th

  • The Alfred Hospital
  • Albury Wodonga
  • Austin Hospital
  • Barwon Health – Geelong
  • Box Hill Hospital
  • Monash Clayton
  • Northern Hospital
  • Peninsula Health – Frankston
  • The Royal Melbourne Hospital
  • St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne
  • Sunshine Hospital
  • Wonthaggi Hospital

If you want to see your local doctor – the advice is to call ahead first and seek advice on how to see them.

From W.H.O. website

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus.

What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

  • Fever, tiredness, and dry cough.
  • Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea.

Will I recover if I get sick?

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment.

Who is most at risk?

  • Older persons.
  • Persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes).
  • Healthcare workers are at greater risk as they come into more contact with infected people.

Young healthy people rarely develop severe problems with COVID-19

How does COVID-19 spread?

  • Coughs or exhales.
  • Touching surfaces with the virus on it, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of disease?

  • Hand washing before any food or touching face: Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based handwash for 20 seconds.
  • Stay apart 1 metre (3 feet) distance between others.
  • Cover your mouth and nose and cough or sneeze into your elbow – not your hand.
  • Disinfect all surfaces regularly with good disinfectant.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell and seek medical advice.

More information


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