Home Truths Eleven

This week Hometruths felt like an elated pirate on a stilled boat in the ocean. Not because we stole booty *ahem* from unwitting East India liners, but because the wind started to move on the high seas of the Melbourne property market. Ahoy, me mateys – we’re getting back to business! Hometruths Eleven has several treats for you to enjoy , and lots of pirate jokes too. Enjoy the start of your working week with the knowledge that the market is improving and buyer sentiment seems so much brighter. Better get on with buying your house, landlubbers!

Outside the Melbourne General Cemetary on Lygon Street, Carlton North – Editor Iolanthe Gabrie gets busy channeling Catherine Deneuve.

Vibe: Cheered verily by the perfect blue sky and Tasmanian-white light this Saturday morning produced, Hometruths chose to be chic, warm and mysterious at all auctions and snacking adventures in Melbourne’s inner-north.

Wearing: Gorman ochre high-waisted pants (my, I forget how comfortable tencel is!), David Lawrence chocolate trench, Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses.

Hometruths Melbourne Brekky Review:

Did you know that our editor is competing in Run Melbourne this coming Sunday, 17th July? Yup. We’ve gone from zero to 5km hero and in aid of that very gambit we’re eating healthily in our own kitchen. So, instead of an inner-north brekky review you’ll get a Hometruths Melbourne inourkitchen review. Depicted above : healthy, golden and luxurious – porridge with full cream milk from La Latteria on Elgin Street, sprinkled with cinnamon and topped with poached apricots. All washed down with a queen-sized Twinings Lady Grey Tea – all in beautiful iittala porcelain. NB: Our Run Melbourne effort also raises funds for Hometruths Melbourne’s charity of choice – Fitted for Work. Click here to donate to Hometruth’s effort (even a fiver, brother!) for this Sunday’s charity fun run.

Auction 1: 774 Lygon Street, Carlton North

Time: 11:30 am

Agents: AG Property, Anthony Gattuso

Who wouldn’t have a house a few doors up from North Carlton’s famous Filou’s Patisserie on their wish-list?

Punters: For the first time in a few weeks, I saw happy, positive and non-grumpy buyers. Hallelujah! Sometimes a nice house attracts nice people – nice vendors, nice agent, nice buyers. 774 Lygon Street’s auction was a karmic love-in of decent treatment and respect shown between all parties. It was a mature crowd, mostly families and older people – the auction crowd numbered around 30 punters.

Review: This property was located opposite the Melbourne General Cemetary, in that classic long row of Victorian workman’s cottages. This home had been very well lived in and very well loved, it had oodles of charm. Two bedrooms with high ceilings, formal lounge with bright views to a miniature winter-garden, huge bathroom and modern kitchen with atrium-style casual lounge attached. The owner must have really loved their garden, because it was full of verdant trees, mature plants and had a nice decking area. The block was quite long, and when you ventured to the end of the garden, you discovered a little park. Anthony Gattuso (Director of AG Property) was both the listing agent and the auctioneer for this campaign. A stalwart of the Carlton and inner-north, Anthony made much of the value and location of this home. As he said ‘… demand will always outstrip supply in these inner-city areas, as they will not be building homes like these again’. He also reinforced to the bidding crowd the clarity of the auction process, and how being able to compete in public was a benefit to buyers. Anthony started off the auction with a vendor bid of $690,000 and swiftly a live bid of $700,000 was called. There were two main bidders in the fray (both very polite and deferential) who kept the bidding in 10,000 rises until they reached $800,000 where they were knocked down to $5000 rises. The property was on the market at $800,000 and eventually sold for $830,000. The crowd were amused by Anthony’s relentless insistence that the competing bidders should keep going, even asking for lower bids such as $1000 and $500. As he said ‘It’s only money… the bank’s got lots!’ A happy auction all in all.

Auction 2:66 Collins Street, Thornbury

Time: 1:00pm

Agency: Nelson Alexander, John Karr

This property had approximately 10,000 square feet of land. How do you like this for a huge inner-city backyard?

Punters: This was an auction where we assume there was an equal number of sticky beakers to those with good interest. It was a very diverse crowd and there was a festival-like air to the event. The home was situated in the heart of Thornbury, opposite lovely Penders Park and only a couple of block away from High Street’s public transport and shopping. It was also really close to a real live milkbar (they still do exist!) and a charming primary school. As such there were lots of families milling around – it would make the perfect house to raise kids in.

This house warmed the cockles of Hometruths’ heart, with charming features like this classic oven….

… and ticking grandfather clock which complimented the lush wood interiors of the front part of the home.

Review: This unique home was built by the vendor’s grandparents in 1914, and had been lived in by multiple generations of the same family. It was a mixture of architectural styles (including Edwardian, Georgian Revival and Art Deco) which mesh together quite lyrically, and it had a very friendly and loved atmosphere. Not a super-large home, it was nonetheless spacious with a formal dining and separate lounge area. We really enjoyed the internal picture-window fretwork in the dining room which was very ‘arts and crafts’ movement, as well as the kitchen with its classic ‘Kooka’ oven. The auction was called by Peter Egan of Nelson Alexander Northcote, who took the large crowd by the horns and gave them a good shake. There were three bids which Egan declined at the start of the auction – one at $590,000 – one at $650,000 and one at $900,000. Although gruff, he stayed strong and stuck to his guns, making a vendor bid of 1.2 million. After some cajoling, a bidder raised their hand and offered 1.220 before Peter and listing agent John Karr went inside to discuss with their vendor. Once the agents returned, the crowd relaxed and natural bidding started between 3 main bidders. From 10,000 bids to 5,000 bids – the property eventually sold for $1,405,000. This was a terrific weekend in the Melbourne market, where you could really sense a change in market sentiment. Hometruths look forward to our next weekend of reporting being equally optimistic.

It was a very mano v. mano kind of auction – check out the digger on the left in the dark suit observing auctioneer Peter Egan on the right.

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Home Truths One

 So this is our first Home Truths.

It’s the moment you’ll want to remember, so you can tell your kids where you were. We’re bringing you something you’ve never seen before in Melbourne’s property market. We’ll be providing a rundown on an Auction Saturday (19th March 2011), starting with our first niche coffee venue and ending with the last sale result. It’s an informal yet entirely informative blog where you can see who’s cool in Melbourne’s property scene… and who’s fool. So, take my hand and let’s go.

Starting out in Brunswick East. Editor-in-Chief, Iolanthe. Who says property’s just about suits?

Vibe: Autumn I love you. Clearance rates steady.

Wearing: With clogs. Gulu jewellery. Leona Edmiston hosiery.

Home Truths attended four auctions today, from Fitzroy North to Fairfield, Carlton to Carlton North. Bang in the middle of all these locations is the perfect place to start your home hunting day – Pope Joan 77-79 Nicholson Street Brunswick East. We arrived bright and early to get started on the Domain newspaper, and we weren’t the only ones. It was chockers with oldies, newbies and babies.

Warmly welcomed, we ordered a long macchiato which arrived in under a minute. It was beautiful and creamy, served in a glossy chocolate coloured old school cup. We ordered ginger bread with smoked maple butter which was delicately moist and warmed up my belly. Perfect.

As we munched on this tasty morsel, we noticed David Barnes of Harcourts Carlton setting up his auction flags for the day. He went on to pop this property under the hammer, which was passed in at 16 Nicholson Street. Well worth a look if you’re after a four bedroom unit in a location close to Pope Joan and Brunswick East. But I digress. Pope Joan staff were welcoming, opening the door for locals as they left the premises, topping up water… the works. A great way to start the day if you’re hunting in this locale. Ok. One last photo below. Artistic, innit?

Auction 1: 91 Rowe Street Fitzroy North

Agent: Collins Simms Stefan Dzanovski

Time: 10:30am

Punters: Fitzroy North is a notoriously ‘everyone knows everyone’ neighbourhood, so there were a lot of locals having a squizz in the crowd. Interested bidders seemed to be either older investors or younger couples. LOTS of Dora the Explorer trikes around.

Review: A cute home in a muchly-loved location, very close to a corner cafe and Queens Parade conveniences. Compact and contemporary, this was a classic two bedroom home with a slightly modified lounge and dining zone. Martha Stewart would love the kitchen, which was quaint and super glossy and white in a country style. Rear yard was undeveloped, but bright and with room for a Jamie Durie garden (if that’s your bag). Home would be suitable for those whose kids have left home (it’s on one level and close to everything) or a young couple who don’t want their in-laws to come round too often. Tres cute home.

The auctioneer for Collins Simms was Gary Fitzpatrick who called a solid auction to a crowd which remained tightlipped for quite a while. As is a trend at many auctions, Gary started off proceedings with a vendor bid of 800k. He called for 10k rises before the bidders gave it a bit of gas, going up to 870k before stopping. The property was eventually passed in for 897k before selling by negotiation for 907,500k. The agent Stefan Dzanovski said that his clients were very happy with the sales result on the day, and that he had confidence in the local Fitzroy North market remaining strong. Stefan says ‘The wider market is patchy as a whole, but Melbourne’s inner north remains strong. Purchasers have more choice at the moment, and aren’t prepared to secure properties at any price. Lifestyle is what brings the extra element to the desirability of a home. Collins Simms experienced an 100% clearance rate today.’

 Home Truths wants to make it clear that passing in a property doesn’t mean failure – negotiating after sale can be just as effective given a willing buyer and vendor.

This was the case with AG Property’s iconic Holcombe Terrace 205 Drummond Street Carlton (image above) which was passed in on the 5th March, to sell privately with the underbidder just four days later for $2,700,000. Agent Anthony Gattuso said ‘Holcombe Terrace was an exciting property to have on the market, as it was such a unique home and Carlton icon. As such, we found the right buyer who appreciated all of the home’s high Victorian drama’.

Auction 2: 9/37 Park Crescent, Fairfield

Agent: Nelson Alexander John Karr

Time: 12:00 Noon

Punters: A big range of buyers for this unit, and Home Truths expect that we’ll see more and more investors coming back into the market in 2011. A few older buyers browsing, but all the action was with young couples. Home Truths had the chance to chat briefly with the underbidders of this property who were North Carlton locals. They were going to live in the home initially and then use as an investment. So far, they’d found their house hunting process OK and didn’t really have much to remark on either way. Maybe they were just nervous about the auction to come.

Have you ever seen such a jolly auction grin? John Karr laying down the law in Fairfield.

Review:  This was a little one bedroom apartment with a nice-sized courtyard. For some reason there’s quite a few 1 bedrooms popping up in this area of Fairfield.   John Karr called an elegant and quietly confident auction to a hesitant crowd. His tone was regular and calming, and he made interesting patter about the nature of Fairfield Park. The auction opened up at 330k and ended up passing in at 352k to an enthusiastic young couple. The property sold for 353500 – just a touch above the reserve. Home Truths interviewed John Karr, who remarks that Fairfield is a great area which will continue to sell well.  John feels that there will be less incidences of underquoting reports, and homes are now selling within the quote range.   

Auction 3: 208 Drummond Street, Carlton

Agents In Conjuction: Nelson Alexander James Keenan, Kelly & Shiel – Damien Shiel

Time: 1:00 pm

To see… and be seen. That kind of gig.

Punters: This was the auction equivalent of a who’s who in Carlton. Serious buyers, serious money. Neighbours hoping for gangbusters results to improve the value of their own homes … a definite hob-nobbing vibe. As this residence (named Derby Terrace) was in commercial use, the buyers appeared to be those who’d renovate and speculate.

Review: The auction was called by Tom Roberts of Nelson Alexander. Well, what can I say? This is one of those pieces of street theatre that comes along in real estate once in a blue moon. This was a grand ole girl terrace home, currently used as commercial premises. It was definitely a property for those with ideas of re-configuration into a traditional residence. The auction consisted of furious bidding by two determined buyers in a face-off that consisted of $5000 dollar rises instead of cussin’. It all got a bit OK corral. Tom called a beautiful auction with tight, swift patter and the occasional amusing quip. The auction opened at $1.5 million and finished up at $2.151. With assistance from AG Property’s Anthony Gattuso, the winning bidder has made their mark on Drummond Street. Amazing auction action, the kind Home Truths wishes you were there for.

Auction 4: 338 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North

Agent: Jellis Craig – Simon Shrimpton

Time: 2:00pm

It’s a community event, y’all. Chockers turnout to 338 Rathdowne auction.

Punters: Rathdowne Village Carlton North on a Saturday afternoon is full of yummy mummies, sometime gangstas, neighbours and visitors to the village’s gorgeous cafes like Degani and Tre Bicchieri. This was no exception, and the crowd for this beautiful home’s auction was massive. Even the median strip was packed! A huge cross-section,  but those with their hands in the air appeared to be more mature owner-occupiers.

Review: 338 Rathdowne Street was a glowing jewel-box of a residence. Beautifully maintained although petite, this little home glowed. It also had a conservatory room which appealed to the Miss Marple in me. A wonderfully designed ROW with parking and large planters finished off the deal. Simon Shrimpton was both the agent and the auctioneer (a wonderful and rare thing to be) for this home, and he called an energetic and amusing patter to the crowd. And boy – what a hard crowd! You could probably make paddlepops on their steely gazes. Simon kept it light and coaxed both laughter and interaction from the crowd. The home started off at $1.2 million and was eventually passed in at $1.270 before being sold for in excess of $1.3 million that afternoon. Simon remarked that the vendors were very happy with the result, and that the Veuve was flowing! He said that Jellis Craig had a very successful afternoon across their network with 31 selling out of 37 auctions.

So. That’s Home Truths One.

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*Home Truths Melbourne has gathered this information to provide an interesting document for readers and subscribers. Information contained herein is gathered from a range of sources including but not limited to; local press both virtual and hardcopy, Valuer General Information & Agents own investigations. All efforts are made to verify the information provided. The information is not to be relied upon or used in dealings with third parties and people should make their own investigations regarding their own property or personal circumstances. Opinions and observations offered should not be treated as fact.