Melbourne suburbs where homebuyers are scoring the biggest discounts

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12 Alex Drive, St Andrews Beach was first listed for $875,000-$962,000 in July 2018 and sold for $810,000 in February 2019, according to CoreLogic records.

Melbourne’s downturn appears to be on the brink of bottoming out — but savvy buyers are still negotiating tens of thousands of dollars off asking prices across the city.

Discounts as heavy as $1 million are being achieved, as househunters make the most of the buyer’s market gripping Melbourne.

The latest CoreLogic figures show house sellers who were prepared to bargain in southeastern suburb Heatherton slashed a median 12 per cent off their original private sale asking price over the past year.

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7 Colonial Place, Heatherton was initially listed for $880,000-$940,000 in January 2019 and sold for $832,500 in April, CoreLogic records show.

Those in St Andrews Beach and Aspendale shaved off typical discounts of 10 per cent, and 9 per cent in McCrae, Balwyn and Seabrook.

If Balwyn’s average discount was applied to its $2.23 million median, it would equate to more than $200,000.

Glen Huntly vendors offered the biggest median apartment discount at 8.5 per cent.

The data compares the initial advertised asking price and eventual sale price of homes sold at a discount in the year to February 28. It only covers private sales, which make up majority of Melbourne property transactions.

Advantage Property Consulting director Frank Valentic said buyers had retained the upper hand since Melbourne’s downturn kicked off in 2017.

Demand had dramatically dropped since then, with investors all but dropping out of the market, he said.

“Vendors probably took 12 months to adjust their price expectations (after the downturn started) — some still haven’t adjusted,” Mr Valentic said.

Buyer’s advocate Frank Valentic snared this Merricks North house for a $1 million discount.

Inside the Merricks North property.

The buyer’s advocate said discounts were most common in Melbourne’s oversupplied inner-city apartment markets, and holiday home markets like the Mornington Peninsula.

He said he recently scored a renovated Merricks North house with a pool below market value, for $2.551 million. CoreLogic records show the 1ha property was listed for $3.55-$3.85 million late last year.

“That’s as big a discount as I’ve ever seen,” he said.

Mr Valentic warned vendors not to set their sights too high, as overpriced properties that lingered on the market lost prime advertising positions and gave buyers cause to think “there’s something wrong”.

He said househunters keen to negotiate a bargain should research comparable sales, have other options up their sleeves for leverage, seek off-market opportunities, and engage a buyer’s advocate.

They had a better chance if one of the “five Ds” was driving a sale: divorce, death, debt, deadline (if the vendor has bought elsewhere) and distance.

Greg Hocking Poulios agent Lauren Chambers said the Heatherton market was turning a corner, with buyer inquiries picking up after the federal election was decided.

“Emails are starting to come through again, phones are starting to ring again,” she said.

“Finance is getting a lot easier to obtain as well, and interest rates are low — and they’re going to get lower.”

Ms Chambers said the suburb offered lifestyle perks, being “surrounded by gold courses”, and a family-friendly community.

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HOW TO SNARE A DISCOUNT

-Try to find comparable sales at the price you’re hoping to buy for, to use as evidence

-Have other options up your sleeve so you don’t get emotionally invested in one, and so you can use the others as leverage

-Seek out off-market opportunities

-Know you’re more likely to obtain a discount if one of the “five Ds” is driving a sale: divorce, death, debt, deadline (if the vendor has already bought elsewhere) and distance

-Use a skilled negotiator, either a buyer’s advocate or a relative or friend with experience

Source: Advantage Property Consulting director Frank Valentic

TOP VENDOR DISCOUNT SUBURBS

Heatherton (houses): 11.9% median vendor discount, $900,000 median price

St Andrews Beach (houses): 10.3%, $875,000

Aspendale (houses): 10%, $970,000

McCrae (houses): 9.5%, $775,000

Balwyn (houses): 9.4%, $2.23m

Seabrook (houses): 9.1%, $645,000

North Warrandyte (houses): 8.5%, $970,000

Glen Huntly (units): 8.5%, $580,000

Sunshine North (houses): 8.4%, $650,000

Mt Eliza (houses): 8.3%, $1.187m

Kilsyth South (houses): 8.3%, $800,000

Blackburn (houses): 8.2%, $1,267,500

St Albans (houses): 8.2%, $600,000

Somers (houses): 8%, $850,000

Croydon North (units): 8%, $605,000

Source: CoreLogic, for year to February 28. Only suburbs with at least 20 sales

Data compares initial advertised asking price and eventual sale price of homes sold at a discount, via private sale

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