Home Truths Nine

Ah Melbourne. When you’re good you’re very, very good. And when you’re bad you’re horrid. Today Melbourne treated me like a blushing bride being carried over the threshold. Crisp winter air, sunny dappled light at all auctions, impressive food – good traffic. Home Truths Nine is a sweet little tome featuring an upsy-downsy property market and the people who fuel it. Literally and figuratively. We’ve also got a new Agentsays this week, featuring Troy Constantine of Collins Simms in Clifton Hill. Enjoy!

Starting off in Carlton, Editor-in-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie.

Vibe: In honor of the release of the latest Rockstar Games release L.A Noire, I channel 1940’s style with pinrolled curls and a worsted wool KGB style coat – perfectly suitable for a Melbourne winter. Video game fan-girls unite!

Wearing: Worsted woollen coat by Veronika Maine, OPI nailpolish ‘An Affair in Red Square’, Country Road wrap dress and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.

Hometruths Melbourne Brekky Review: Hellenic Republic, 434 Lygon Street Brunswick East

What a hopeful morning. This is the top of Lygon Street in Brunswick East, just before it turns right towards Coburg. I thought to take this photo as it’s not often you see this view of the city – can you see the Eureka Tower there in the distance? This is also the location of Hellenic Republic (another project of George Calombaris) well known for its sharing feasts – Greek classics reinterpreted to keep things interesting. I’ve been to Hellenic Republic for dinner several times – sometimes elated and delighted at the superior service and quality of fare, and other times bemused at being ‘oversold’ to and having adequate, yet unimpressive dining experiences. I’d never been for breakfast and thought it was time to amend the fact.

When I arrived at 9 am or so, Hellenic Republic was quiet and peaceful – a welcome respite from the often-overstuffed Melbourne cafe scene of a Saturday morning. As it wasn’t crowded, the customer service of the staff really shone. After being welcomed to my seat I was offered a choice of newspapers – how luxe! Seated in the broad daylight facing Lygon Street, it was somehow more enjoyable than nighttime – I could see the Neos Kosmos newspapers displayed on the wall near the drygoods store, and the decorative lobster-cage lightfittings. The breakfast menu was impressive – from thick greek yogurt with quince and attiki honey through to bougatsa (custard semolina pie) or avocado with feta. I chose beautiful Avgo Sto Forno (oven-baked eggs with chickpeas and a tomatoey-harissa sugo) and an unctuous greek coffee.

I will definitely be back soon to try something else from their menu. Top-notch service, elegant food and a peaceful Saturday morning breakfast. Good for kids, great for brunch with girlfriends or a breakfast date. My favorite!

Auction 1: 29 Hotham Street, Collingwood

Time: 11:00 am

Agents: Hocking Stuart, Michael Amarant mamarant@hockingstuart.com.au or 0411 144 569

Collingwood streetscape – Hotham Street. Not bad, eh?

Punters: I had a chat with a lovely young bloke who was representative of many of the buyers looking at this home. First home owners, wanting a bit of land and space, doing their research but in no particular hurry to buy. In the inner-city land’s a rarity, so this classic Collingwood worker’s cottage proved relatively affordable. My experience in slower markets has shown that the market which clams up most when clearance rates fall is (counter-intuitively) the first home owner’s demographic. You’d think that less competition means better buying (which it certainly does!), but as first home owners are generally quite nervous about entering the market – they usually remain quite tight-lipped at auctions, and there’s not a lot of action.

Review: 29 Hotham Street was a cute little cottage, very well-loved by its current owners. A cute little cottage, with a small but  bright front bedroom, cosy lounge and kitchen area and nicely manicured rear yard. Upstairs was a mezzanine bedroom and study with lots of natural light. The Achilles heel of the home was the extremely steep staircase accessing this area – although not unusual for this vintage of residence,  it still can prove difficult to a contemporary home owner to negotiate around. Scott McElroy called the day’s auction on behalf of listing agent Michael Amarant, focussing on the proximity of the home to public transport and the city. Scott compared buying a home at this price point to buying an apartment – but without the body corporate fees. Still, the crowd wasn’t getting into the mood as Scott called a vendor bid of $570,000. The property was passed in on this bid, and agent Michael Amarant has confirmed there was a further offer on the day of $590,000. The property is available for sale privately at $639,000.

Hocking Stuart Director and Auctioneer Scott McElroy, enticing the crowd to bid.

Hometruths Coffee Pitstop – De Clieu

Reminds you of anything? Super cool kids hangout De Clieu is in the old premises of KP Smyth aka Smythnelsonalexander  (redesigned maybe 7 years ago by Six Degrees Architects) so the real estate theme is still kind of there. Aww, c’mon. It was a cold day and the warm embrace of soy latte called.

De Clieu has everything that the hardcore Melbourne coffee fascists loves, like Seven Seeds coffee beans and lots of drip filtration. Packed to the gills on the weekend, it has a range of arty baguettes and organic grainy breads to warm your heart. The soy latte I had ( I know, I know, why bother!?) was super dooper toasty flavoured with a beautiful density to the ‘milk’. I liked it so much I even went back there this morning for another.

How wonderfully life affirming. From the crafty kids at Third Drawer Down, this bright sign on Gertrude Street.

Auction 2: 68 Carlton Street, Carlton

Time: 12:00

Agents: Nelson Alexander, Arch Staver

Punters: As you can see, there were lots of ’em! Carlton Street is Carlton’s most prestigious location, overlooking the Carlton Gardens and consisting of exceptionally beautiful gold-rush era Melbourne architecture. Some of the homes are a little decrepit, but (like Elizabeth Taylor) some things just get better with age. The crowd consisted of several genuine bidders, lots of families and a few Carlton identities.

Sure, money can’t buy happiness. But it can buy this view from 68 Carlton Street.

Review: I can unreservedly say I enjoyed this auction more than I’ve enjoyed the weeks of dull pass-ins that preceded it. The top end of the market still displays robust activity – and why not? Assets are less expensive now than they will be upon market recovery. This home was a grand old dame, lots of bedrooms and a little bit of a rabbit-warren internally. No matter,  however – the next owners of this residence are going to completely gut and re-furbish. Punters were buying position and opportunity at this auction. Called with great skill by Arch Staver of Nelson Alexander, the auction started off with a vendor bid of $1,500,000 with calls of $10,000 invited. Arch spoke about the unique position of the property asked of the crowd ‘Surely there can’t be so many gathered here to do nothing on this fine winter morning?’ Eventually a bid of $1,510,000 was taken and three bidders went to town. One bidder tried to cut the bids down to $5000 immediately – and asked to do so a further three times. Arch stuck to his guns and politely declined the low bid – to the bidder’s frustration but ultimately for the good of the vendor. I saw another such interaction between bidder and auctioneer at the next auction reviewed today. The property was eventually passed in at $1,810,000 and is currently privately available for sale at $1,950,000.

Arch Staver politely declining a low bid. Look at that cheeky grin.

Auction 3:  3/465 Brunswick Road, Brunswick West

Time: 1:30pm

Agents: AG Property, Anthony Gattuso

Punters: Grumpy, grumpy, grumpy bums. A more sour-pussed group of first home owners I’ve not seen in ages. The kind of body language only a Year 9 teacher would know how to modify.

Review: The property on offer was a beautifully renovated one bedroom unit in a 1970’s brick block. Located on the ground floor it had been finished with a real eye to detail, and it also had extra storage throughout. Very feminine, and with a good-sized secure courtyard and carpark. Ostensibly, a winner. The auctioneer and Director of AG Property, Anthony Gattuso, described the benefits of the property to the crowd. It did have many attributes which made it a quality investment or first home such as airconditioning, small body corporate and laundry taps. He opened with a vendor bid of $280,000 and a live bid of $290,000 came quickly thereafter. The buyers looked quite nervous, as if they were waiting to see if more bidding would come. There was some banter between a bidder who wanted to knock the bids down to $1000 swiftly, which auctioneer Anthony Gattuso politely declined to do. There was further bidding up to $305,000 whereupon the property was passed in. The property was then sold to the highest bidder for $317,500.

 

Auctioneer Anthony Gattuso encouraging bids from the crowd. Check out the grumpy  bum buyers!

Advertisements

Home Truths Seven

G’day Home Truth pals. Saturday 21st May was one of those days where you just don’t want to get out of bed. Even if you’re a property junkie, or someone hustling auctions all day in the attempt to find a dream home. Nonetheless, it was a better day to be out and about than the previously stormy week with nary a buyer popping their hand in the air. This Saturday was much more forgiving, with two out of the three auctions Home Truths Melbourne attended with live bidding. Enjoy our reviews, and get snacky with our editor’s blow-by-blow of Seven Seeds cafe.

Starting off in Carlton, Editor-In-Chief Iolanthe Gabrie. Slight ceiling eyes effect AKA Audrina Partridge  eyes.

Vibe:  Informed by the big hair of Eurovision and emulating the 80’s-come-art deco quiff of Sean Young in Bladerunner. Hoping for big bidding to be inspired by big hair.

Wearing: Fur Gilet by Forever New, OPI Red My Fortune Cookie, Rubi Shoes boots, Chanel Rouge Coco Rebelle lipstick.

Seven Seeds. Hub for coffee lovers of the hardcore variety of Melbourne. I had been once before about 18 months previously, and I was a little overwhelmed by the seriousness of the space with dedicated coffee tasting rooms and several different methods of filtering the good stuff. This is more representative of my low-key attitude to coffee (and being in Melbourne, there’s a lot of good joe around anyway) rather than any criticism of Seven Seeds. My return to the low-key facade on Berkeley Street, Carlton was very different to my first experience. A little like a speakeasy, you approach Seven Seeds from a non-descript entry and are drawn into a blonde wood panelled, lofty space just full to bursting with breakfasting Melbournites.

No fancy exteriors here. Instead, the Australian-style modern design is saved for the interior – my breakfast table was decorated with…

… an elegant single, fuzzy protea and a medicine jar of fresh water.

There was an extensive and creative menu, with mueslis and porridge re-interpreted with local ingredients and unexpected (but delightful!) flavours. I settled for a short black (very, very short – just a couple of spoonfuls, really) which was earthy and creamy and brioche french toast with  blueberry mascarpone and hazelnuts.

Brioche french toast –  with spiced syrup and crispy enough to last me through to the end of a busy day of opens.

We say a resounding yes to Seven Seeds – it’s a great place to stop off if you’re biking your way to an open for inspection in North Melbourne, or perhaps on a journey to the Vic Markets. Friendly staff, extensive menu – a little serious, but deeeeliciously so.

Auction 1: 14/109 Heidelberg Road, Clifton Hill

Time: 10:00 am

Agents: Jellis Craig Clifton Hill, Bev Adam – bevadam@jelliscraig.com.au

Punters: A very mixed bunch of potential buyers at this neat, sunny one bedroom apartment. There were older couples (likely investors), younger single guys and girls and a whole lot of who appeared to be neighbours. These properties appeal to two important sectors of the buyer’s market – making one bedrooms great investments for the long haul.

Review: Located in a quality 1970’s development which is both low-rise and well maintained, this one bedroom unit was a real winner. Beautifully maintained and full of touches that only an owner-occupier would consider – quality kitchen with beautiful wavy red tiling, creamy stone benches – luxurious bathroom,  full laundry and spa-style shower. It also had a carpark on a separate title, as well as natty terrarium-style minimalist gardens. At only $1000 per annum body corporate fees, it represented good buying for a newbie first home owner or a savvy investor type. Simon Shrimpton called the day’s auction, noting and emphasizing to the crowd  all the benefits of the property in detail. A reticent crowd to start off (in fact, all three auctions today started with a vendor bid after much cajoling), Simon called a vendor bid of $330,000 to begin. Shortly thereafter a two low increment bids of $5000 were called, which were accepted by the auctioneer. The buyers clammed up at $340,000 and Simon placed a strategic second vendor bid of $345,000. Although not commonplace previously, secondary vendor bids are becoming more frequent in this marketplace. A bidder who previously hadn’t participated came in at $350,000 – and the property was passed-in to this party and sold for $360,000.

Bev Adam and Simon Shrimpton cutting a stylish swathe in the auction market on Saturday, Heidelberg Road.

Quote: $330,000 – $360,000

Price Sold: $360,000

Auction 2: Charing Terrace – 10/22 Grattan Street, Carlton

Time: 11:00 am

Agent: Thomson, Glen Bartlett

Punters: Charing Terrace is the Fort Knox of Carlton real estate. Nobody goes in and nobody goes out. Well, not quite. But it is a very private (and admittedly very gorgeous) 1980’s development of secluded townhouses. There were many familiar faces of neighbourhood locals in the crowd, and a few family demographic punters that Home Truths have seen at other auctions in the area. It is a very tight-knit body corporate with immaculately maintained grounds – would certainly suit an owner occupier who appreciates privacy and great amenity to the city.

Review: Set towards the rear of the Charing Terrace development is this tri-level townhouse style residence which is immediately homey. Although needing an update internally, the home is very charming and enjoys brilliant natural light and a huge courtyard. The kitchen was a real favorite of ours, with a lovely picture window and a real sense of privacy. It is a large home, with a granny-flat style arrangement on the ground floor – you could remodel the space quite easily. Charing Terrace’s main benefit is the privacy and security of the development mixed with the terrific location. Glen Bartlett was the day’s auctioneer, assisted by Tim Elliot. Glen called a thorough auction, firstly describing the terms of sale (90 days or earlier, body corporate fees of $1839 per half year) and benefits of the property (popularity of Charing Terrace amongst a ‘verdant oasis’). He also made mention of how unusual it was to be able to take 3 cars off the street in Carlton – this particular property had that amenity. Despite encouraging the crowd on, Glen had to make a vendor bid of $920,000. The crowd remained quiet, and the property was passed at that level.

Director of Thomson Real Estate Carlton Glenn Bartlett encouraging the crowd at Charing Terrace.

Price currently: $990,000 private sale

Auction 3: 3/389 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Time: 12:30pm

Agents: Collins Simms, Troy Constantine

Punters: The open for inspection prior to the auction was very busy compared to the other opens Home Truths reviewed on the day. It was chock-a-block full of 30-somethings and young families, looking to buy a home to live in.  There were a few investor-types,  but the overwhelming impression was of owner-occupier interest in this home.

Review: Quite an unusual development- with access from both Lygon Street and the side street the property seemed to be a mixture of single level residences and townhouses with an internal, enclosed courtyard space. Sounds weird? It kinda was. Not bad weird however – just unusual. This apartment was very spacious and brightly lit, located on a corner gave it a further feeling of privacy. Although economically finished, it had terrific storage and nicely fitted bathrooms. The location of the residence was terrific – right near public transport to the city and close to the strip of new cafes in Brunswick East. There was definitely room here to raise a small family comfortably. Collins Simms stalwart and all-round lovely guy Stephen Whitelaw was the day’s auctioneer, and he made a calm and conversational call. Stephen made a real effort to communicate simply and honestly with the crowd – the current buyer’s market can be unnecessarily nervous and often negative about property value. Stephen spoke about the benefits of the property, the terms of offer and even handled a question on the fly about storage cages and the body corporate.  Stephen got the auction going with a vendor bid (after a short period of asking for natural bidding) at $480,000. This was swiftly followed up by a live bid at $485,000. Similarly to Jellis Craig’s Simon Shrimpton, Stephen made a second vendor bid once the auction stalled at $520,000. Another live bid ensued at $521,000 and the property was passed into this buyer. The vendor appears to be $29,000 away from making a sale – so let’s hope that home will be sold to a happy new owner occupier soon.

Price Currently: $550,000 private sale

Collins Simms Director Stephen Whitelaw and sales agent Troy Constantine chatting to the crowd.