How to separate facts from fluff about Melbourne’s property market
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We live in an information age.
In our fast-paced environment, how can we discriminate the good from the bad in the information-saturated Melbourne property market right now?
At James Buyer Advocates, when we produce a full value rating, we look at hundreds of pieces of information.
We split them into three categories.
Facts – such as a sale price
Opinions – such as the values placed on a home by the highest other bidder, the seller and your own pre-sale opinions
Fluff – uniformed or unsubstantiated advice or guides
Take one of the many property websites popping up, such as onthehouse.com.au, which last week said 45 Middle Crescent Brighton could sell for $1,967,900 to $2,089,900. The house sold for just under $3 million, so you’d be pretty disappointed as a buyer if you’d been relying on the site’s “guesstimate”. That wasn’t opinion, that was fluff. It was free fluff, but it was useless fluff. This home actually sold within the selling agents’ quote range.
When everything is blended as one, it is important to discriminate good from bad when making decisions.
In this faster world, facts, opinions and fluff can all blend into one, and they can all become information.
As a buyer, unless you live in a cocoon, the opinions that drive your decisions either good or bad are going to be affected by how you interpret the information you receive – facts, opinions and fluff.
We find that good decisions, and therefore good outcomes, are generally based on facts and informed opinion.
Bad decisions, which more often than not lead to bad outcomes, are made with the help of uninformed opinion and fluff.
Where it becomes tricky for many buyers is determining if a piece of information is a fact, an opinion or fluff.
Fact or fluff
As the world gets murkier – that is editorial versus advertorial – it becomes harder for buyers.
The Real Estate Institute of Victoria (of which we are a longer-term member) often gives the market facts and really well-informed opinion – but at other times it can give the market fluff.
Take, for instance, the last median results and the opinion on the market. The REIV chief executive Enzo Raimondo (he’s OK, and we don’t get it right every day either) supported his latest market opinion stating that Balwyn had strongly improved in prices in the last 12 months and was nearly back at its peak in 2010.
The REIV claimed, as a fact, that the median quarter price in Balwyn has gone up by 26% in three months and that Balwyn tops the list at 20% for June median price quarter improvement in the last year.
“Wow,” you say, “That’s a fact – that’s useful and relevant information when buying in Balwyn”.
But is it a fact or is it just some fluff to fill some space?
Let’s look a little deeper into the star-performing suburb of Balwyn. Let’s check out the “facts”.
The REIV’s June quarter median was based on 43 sales – fully 25% had no sale price recorded next to them. Not just undisclosed. But blank. Agents voluntarily provide this information. So the REIV had to ignore a full quarter of the June quarter’s transactions to come up with its median house price.
Why so many unrecorded prices? Well, in a weaker market like we’ve got now, agents and sellers become reluctant to record all sale prices for reasons of ego or business.
The Mark at Sydney's Central Park
The best of everything at Portside Wharf
Meanwhile, Mike Quigley, boss of the federal government's National Broadband Network, has also sold his Mosman mansion recently at $3,555,000. It represented a loss on the $3.6 million paid in 2007.