The first Tuesday in the month of November, is always a contradiction of fact and fashion. Twelve months ago, on Melbourne Cup Day, the “Governor of Moolah” applied his first rate increase in a bold attempt to slow the property market. Twelve months on he decided to let the cash target rate remain at 5.25 per cent (as we predicted). Obviously, he still likes the current pace of the property race, given that the weight for age property market is now eight years old. The track has quickly moved from slow to fast.

The fashionable place to be on Cup day, was no doubt the Fairfax marquee on Queens Lawn at Royal Randwick. Sensis, must have been aware that something was happening as they had the adjoining marquee, with champagne glasses affixed to the walls. The much awaited announcement that Domain North was confirmed for a 2005 launch, made bigger news than the announcement that Vinnie Roe was racing. With double-sided tape sales on an all time record at Royal Randwick, the Domain East and Domain North marriage annoints a strategic positioning that unites Sydney’s most powerful property markets. It was cheers and clinks all round as the property voyeurs were distracted by a landscape of ‘walking bougainvillea’. Amidst the cheers and clinks, punters were mesmerised by the kaleidoscopic creations of the ‘partying’ faithful.

Early breaking property news this week was that ‘Mandalay’ had also sold for apparently $20,000,000 and the recent unprecedented bull run in the Sydney market continues for top-end properties. Over recent times we have witnessed more launches in the property “Trojan War”, than a Sydney to Hobart. This week, it was upstaged with the launch of 1 Kirkoswald Avenue Mosman, which is the biggest property story in the Mosman market since our sale of the record-breaking $15,500,000 Balmoral home in 2001. Michael Dunn of Richardson & Wrench Double Bay, is teaming up with our Steve Patrick to market one of Mosman’s largest private estates, set on approximately 3,200 sqm of prime Balmoral land.

That other topic that refuses to die is the speculative debate on what property prices are doing. We are of the opinion that over the next six weeks we will see an extraordinary market as finally the property market has a clear run home to Christmas. There has been plenty of confusion this year in the real estate market. Take a few rate increases at the end of 2003, a war, an election and the Olympics which all contributed to de-stabilising consumer confidence. Then throw in the inaccuracies of how property data is collated i.e ancient data is resurrected as modern data due to the entire system being termed by the “Governor of Moolah” as “hopeless”.

So back at the Fairfax marquee, I had an interesting conversation with Rowen Kelly, President of the Real Estate Institute of NSW. It appears that our Institute is looking at following the path of the Victorian model, whereby, its member agents supply the data to the Institute on exchange, which in turn releases the accurate quarterly information. From an agents perspective we would much prefer to see the distribution of ‘our’ actual completed sales evidence distributed from our Institute, and not that of the Reserve Bank / Australian Bureau of Statistics. No doubt we will have some interesting updates on this in coming weeks. We welcome Rowen to his first edition of ‘VRN’. At the end of the day it is all about providing an accurate picture of the property market, and “inaccurate” data, does not do this.

We negotiated our 151st Internet sale this week, when we exchanged a Chinaman’s Beach property. Both vendor and purchaser are subscribers and the purchasers are Aussie expats living in Singapore. We are now on 151 sales to a value of $264,498,000. We are confident of hitting $300,000,000 in subscriber sales, before our Christmas Party. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer, as we experienced with an apartment in Bridlewood Gardens this week. Eighteen months ago, Marize Bellomo presented an offer of $1,100,000, and this week it was finally exchanged. It took the vendors that amount of time to find a new home. Obvioulsy, given upward property market movements, the purchasers revised their long-standing 2003 offer, and the apartment finally exchanged this week at $1,340,000.

The current market is as exciting as some of the Royal Randwick fashion statements. Hopefully, bougainvillea will be pruned back !! The Melbourne Cup may be twelve months away, however the good money is on a strong finish in 2004 for the property market. The weight is presently right between vendors and purchasers and talk of the market being out to pasture is yet another total contradiction of the facts. Real estate, will be a fashion statement for quite some time to come !! We are posting the results each week. Cheers and clink ^__^

P.S. To “Thelma and Louise” at Fairfax, as promised in the marquee, welcome to our world, ladies !!

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