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 Six

After a few weeks away from the Melbourne auction market whilst journeying in America, Home Truths is back with edition Six. Did you miss us? Saturday 14th of May was a horribly rainy, windy and suitably Melbourne-ish wintery day. Good day to be inside… not so much fun if you’re an estate agent or a hopeful buyer however. We review +39 as our restaurant this week (having lunch rather than brekky to shake it up a little) and feature three properties – two in Carlton and one in Thornbury. Enjoy!

Starting off in Carlton, Editor-in-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie (having just removed herself with regret from the hydronic heating).

Vibe: Will all this rain and wind cause a drop in clearance rates for Victorian Auctions? Will I succesfully complete today’s auction reviews without frostbite?

Wearing: Mimco beanie, Lorna Jane cupcake-pink fleece, Chanel Mademoiselle perfume.

Instead of breakfast this week, we thought we’d tantalize your palates with heavier fare – it is after all in keeping with the wintery blast that your tummies are yearning for something a little, well – heavier. We ventured to the CBD to +39 Pizzeria, voted as the best pizzeria of 2010 by The Age. Owned by the rather gorgeous Remo Nicolini (brother of Tony Nicolini of Carlton Espresso & D.O.C fame), this no-nonsense mildly industrial feeling restaurant pumps out the pizza lovin’. I cannot recommend this restaurant MORE as the perfect piping hot pick me up in between open for inspections. El husband had a Margherita (served by a suitably Eurovision-esque lovely waiter) which was cheesy and crowned with fragrant, fresh and un-torn basil leaves.

I enjoyed a Capricciosa (I know it sounds like a dull choice, given that +39 do an ‘Aragosta’  pizza topped with caviar and lobster… but the fragrant ham won me over!)

If this little piece of Italy can’t un-freeze the cockles of your heart after a loss at auction, well – there’s not much hope for you. Crispy, chewy and most importantly JUICY – this is an impressive pitstop on a Saturday.

Auction 1: 38 Rathdowne Street, Carlton

Time: 10:30 am

Agents: Nelson Alexander Carlton, James Keenan

Inset: Mark Verrochi taking names prior to the auction at 38 Rathdowne Street.

Punters: A very mixed bag of potential purchasers at this rainy-day auction. A smallish crowd of around 30, it appeared to mostly be young couples, or small families with one child.

Review: 38 Rathdowne Street is a contemporary townhouse-style property which is architect designed and features a raw concrete-style minimalist facade and quality modern kitchen. Quite compact but very attractive throughout, the home is perfect for a couple upsizing (or downsizing if you don’t mind a few stairs) and very close to the amenities of Carlton. Quoted at 700-770k by Nelson Alexander Director James Keenan and auctioned by Tom Roberts, the damp crowd were quite silent at the opening of the call. This was a trend Home Truths saw repeated at all auctions we attended today. Tom highlighted the excellent location, flexible accommodation and hydronic heating of the home to the buyers, but eventually had to call a vendor bid of 700k. After going in briefly to refer to the vendors, the home was passed in at 700k. Negotiations continued post auction, with the home successfully selling shortly after for 760k. This goes to show that simply because a property is passed in at auction, it doesn’t mean that a buyer isn’t lurking in the crowd or that a sale isn’t achievable.

Inset: James Keenan (holding notepad) and Tom Roberts rain-dancin’ the showers away towards a successful sale at 38 Rathdowne.

Auction 2: 106 Faraday Street, Carlton

Time: 11:00am

Agents: Nelson Alexander Carlton, Tom Roberts

 Punters: A true who’s who of the Carlton neighbourhood at this auction! About 100 metres from the previous auction at 38 Rathdowne Street, but a world away in terms of buyer demographic. Older buyers were coming through the home, which made sense in terms of price point for the house ($1.220 was the opening vendor bid) – but seemed incongruous with the actual layout of the residence which had extensive and very steep stairs. A limited time that an older person could reside in this home, methinks.

Review: What a magnificent home! This regal Victorian home gave your editor serious FOMO’s (fear of missing outs). Beautifully renovated throughout and with a very feminine sensibility, this home will make whoever claims it as their own happy for quite a while I daresay. Generous formal living room, beautiful marble kitchen with a Philippe Starck-ish vibe going on and proper-sized yard for entertaining. Upstairs two of the bedrooms were charmingly wall-papered in toile, adding to the cosy feel of the residence. In terms of position, you couldn’t ask for more. A quick hop to Brunetti, D.O.C, Readings and the supermarket, and very close to public transport on Nicholson Street. All these features made the buyer’s steely resolve to not put up their hands and bid the more puzzling. Tom Roberts (listing agent and auctioneer, a good combo) was engaging and determined, describing the detailed renovation the home had undertaken. American oak floors, marble lined bathroom etc. He also made mention of how he’d recently undergone a renovation and was now almost a part of ‘Renovator’s Anonymous’. The point made was that renovation is a challenge, and a ‘break even’ is not always immediately achievable. Despite his encouragement, Tom needed to call a vendor bid of $1.220 to get things going. After referring to the vendor briefly, the home was passed in at this level. It is currently available for private sale at $1,340,000.

Inset: Janine Ballantyne and Tom Roberts mid-auction at 106 Faraday Street, Carlton

Auction 3: 317 Raleigh Street, Thorbury

Time: 1:00pm

Agents: Barry Plant Northcote, Luke Brizzi

Punters: Definitely a neighbours peeking fest, with what seemed like a crowd of mostly Nonnas, Nonnos, Yia Yia and Papous making up the crowd. There were several serious-looking parties in the mix however, with this substantial residence suitable for a young family or alternately a savvy developer looking to knock down and build townhouses. The amount of choice on the market has certainly affected the rate of activity at auctions currently, including the amount of active punters showing up.

Review:

Inset: Luke Brizzi encouraging the crowd to put their hands in da air like they just don’t care.

I’ve got a soft spot for Raleigh Street in Thorbury, having been a previous neighbour on the street. Thornbury and Preston still represent relatively good buying for first-home owners and young families who’d like a little yard without having to go all the way to Tarneit. It’s got great amenities such as the Station Street shops, and High Street is full of young up and coming businesses and cafes. 317 Raleigh Street has lots going for it, most noticeably its substantial land component of 600 sq metres odd. The residence itself is an 80’s style brick veneer with both front and rear yards, several bedrooms and formal and casual living areas. It’s in good nick, but probably needs a little further updating. Totally livable, however. Auctioneer and listing agent Luke Brizzi made the most of the location and amenities in his pre-call patter, and highlighted the convenient situation of the property. Despite encouragement, Luke needed to kick things off with a vendor bid of $800,000. After referring briefly to his client inside, he then passed the property in. Strangely enough, the very thing going for the home (ie excellent land and potential for development) is probably the thing that holds it back. The home is sizable – the land even larger – but the sale price of the home (now available for private sale at $1,065,000) precludes it from appealing to first home owners or starter families. Most likely a developer project ahoy, as the home has a driveway making it perfect for a set of townhouses. Watch this space!