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Auctions Keep Lockdown Markets Strong

By Rachel Wallace

WHETHER it’s online or on site, auctions are almost always guaranteed to net you a better price than private sales according to Ray White data.

Ray White Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee said no matter what condition the market is in, selling by auction gets you the best price.

“Our analysis of almost 10,000 auctions over the past 12 months has shown that on average, you get an 11.4 per cent uplift in price as a result of going to auction compared to when selling prior,” Ms Conisbee said.

“This percentage uplift does vary according to how strong the market is, but surprisingly does not vary much. In a very weak market, such as the early days of the pandemic in April 2020, this uplift was 10.4 per cent. In a very strong market, it gets up to around 13 per cent.”

Ray White has been tracking auction data closely for several years and tracks a wide range of metrics including clearance rates, average active bidders, registered bidders, sold price versus highest prior offer, properties withdrawn and the list goes on. Ms Conisbee found there were two metrics which have been particularly strong in Sydney in 2021.

“The first is the gap between the highest prior offer and auction sale price, and the second is the number of average active bidders,” she said.

“Not surprisingly, both of these have remained at elevated levels in 2021 and are closely linked. The more competition for a property (active bidders), leads to a better price (gap between highest prior offer and sale price).”

Today, auctions continued strongly with the Ray White Group booking an 87 per cent clearance rate while 7.8 registered bidders and 4.3 active bidders tuned in either on site or online on average across the country.

Focusing on the sunshine state, Ms Conisbee said Brisbane was entering a “Golden Decade” of property prosperity and the Olympics will be a huge drawcard.

“Queensland is currently seeing the strongest population growth in Australia, with particularly high movement of people out of southern states to south east Queensland. This strong growth is expected to continue which will have widespread impacts across all price points,” Ms Conisbee said.

And in Brisbane, the number of $1 million plus suburbs has increased by a third over the past 12 months. Ray White Sherwood | Graceville agent Douglas May hit the million mark and recorded one of the top Ray White Brisbane sales today at 20 Richmond St, Corinda which sold for $1.361 million under the hammer. The home was sold for $36,000 more than the reserve with seven registered bidders in attendance. The winning buyers (pictured above) were a couple with young daughters moving from Melbourne.

The home had its 15 minutes of fame four years ago, featuring on ‘Love It or List It Australia’, where hosts Neale Whitaker and Andrew Winter did a complete renovation. While the sellers initially chose to “List It”, they weren’t able to find the right home to move on to at the time. Mr May said buyers found a lot to love about the home.

“I felt the home would draw a lot of attention given the good quality renovation and cute facade. It’s in the sought-after St. Aidan’s school catchment so it was always going to be popular with families,” Mr May said.

“The sellers decided now was the best time to sell because they wanted to capitalise on the current strong market activity.”

In Parkinson, Ray White Sunnybank Hills agents Jonas and Ben Leong sold 33 Weranga Place for well above the suburb’s average for a low set house at $1.053 million. Mr Jonas Leong said bidding was competitive and the buyers were a local family.

“The auction started off quickly with a $750,000 bid from one of the 10 registered bidders. It then shot up really quickly with no negotiations necessary until we reached the sale price,” Mr Jonas Leong said.

“The Parkinson market is quite hot at the moment and in general the suburb average is around $700,000 to $750,000 so this is an amazing result for the property which is really something special.”

In Melbourne, Ray White Victoria chief auctioneer Matthew Condon said the shortage of auction supply combined with a high level of buyer demand today created an environment that was conducive towards sellers achieving a premium price.

“Despite the snap lockdown and not being able to run inspections for the past nine days, sellers who chose to continue with the auction today were heavily rewarded with high clearance rates and exceptional prices,” Mr Condon said.

“Preliminary data from the Ray White Group also revealed a significant increase in the average number of active bidders per auction. Overall, Ray White Victoria is expecting a clearance rate into the 90 per cents.”

Ray White Victoria and Tasmania CEO Stephen Dullens added that all eyes were now on the government to determine what changes would come into effect next week.

“While online auctions have been extremely successful, we know the inability for customers to physically inspect properties results in a significant slowdown in both the sales and rental markets,” Mr Dullens said

“While manageable for a short term, we are aware of a number of our customers with an urgent need to buy, sell or lease property which is made nearly impossible with property inspections paused.

“With case numbers improving, we’re very hopeful of an announcement from the government in the coming days that again allows us to assist our customers.”

The top sale of the day belonged to Victoria where Ray White Glen Waverley area manager Belinda Van Suylen sold 3 Falconer Street for $1.775 million to a family who had already been to several auctions in the area. Ms Van Suylen said the buyers had been thinking about selling for over a year so they could downsize but just needed the confidence to come into the market.

“They decided not to delay selling any longer as they knew they would go into the mix with all the other delayed auctions and new properties coming to market,” Ms Van Suylen said.

“They really embraced and had confidence in our suggestions and it paid off for them.”

The Ray White Glen Waverley agent added that some of the registered bidders involved in the online auction hadn’t seen the property but were confident enough in the process to bid.

Other than taking place online, Ray White Craigieburn agent Daniel Diamantopoulos’ auctions felt like any other huge Saturday as 90 people logged on to watch. The Craigieburn agent sold two highly sought after properties under the hammer.

First up, 47 Patterson Ave, Keilor sold for $765,500 which was a massive $215,500 above reserve to a buyer looking to knock it down. Next was 41 Golf View Drive, Craigieburn which went for $967,000 to a local couple with five kids who were desperately in need of a larger space to accommodate the family.  Mr Diamantopoulos said the buyers and sellers were all over the moon with the result and that he was “completely gobsmacked by the interest”.

Ray White Commercial Head of Agency Operations Andrew Freeman (pictured above) put his auctioneer hat on today and called a $1.4 million online auction for 7 Tasman Court, Patterson Lakes which was listed through Ray White Patterson Lakes selling principal Genevieve Hill. He then moved onto a $1.65 million auction for Ray White Mordialloc agent Aydan Matejin’s 20 Gothic Rd, Aspendale listing which attracted nine registered bidders. Mr Matejin said the Aspendale market has seen some huge growth in the last six months.

“When I started here seven months ago, the average price for a 600sqm home was around $800,000 to $900,000 but now it’s probably around $1.2 million,” Mr Matejin said.

“Everyone wants to move out of the city to somewhere with more space into a family friend area and many of them have landed on Aspendale. So while listings are down, buyers are still very much on the market and willing to pay premium prices.”

Later in the day, Ray White Burwood agent Kimi Meng topped the Ray White auction bidder leaderboard with 42 registered bidders tuning in to compete for 6 Currawa Drive, Boronia which sold for $111,000 above reserve at $841,000. Mr Meng said despite only being on the market for two and half weeks before lockdown, most buyers were familiar with the local market and confident with bidding.

“The location really drove the interest. It’s within walking distance of the nearby shopping centre and public transport so it’s perfect for the new buyers who are a local family,” Mr Meng said.

In Sydney, real estate agents are still fortunate enough to be able to serve customers in need by doing private inspections. Ray White New South Wales chief auctioneer Alex Pattaro said this is the fourth week of lockdown and this weekend’s clearance rate and number of registered bidders will give a really good indication of what lies ahead over the next couple of months.

“Auctioned properties sold today or prior to auction had campaigns that have taken place entirely in lockdown so this week will give us a clear idea of where the market sits,” Mr Pattaro said.

“Stock levels are low but buyer activity is high making it a great sellers’ market and while we understand it might be difficult for sellers to allow people through their home, they can take full confidence in the fact that the Ray White Group are taking appropriate precautionary measures to keep the community safe while also creating competition and achieving premium prices.

“After lockdown ends, we are anticipating more stock will hit the market at the one time allowing buyers more choice to secure a home and less competition for listings.”

Auction campaigns run entirely in lockdown include 12 Yaralla Cres, Thornleigh which sold for $1.57 million through Ray White Pennant Hills Group director Dion Verzeletti. Seven of the 11 registered bidders eagerly participated in the bidding which came down to $1,000 bids at the end. It was a lucky couple who had been looking for a while who were welcomed as the new owners by Ray White auctioneer Tim Snell (pictured above). The couple have plans to live in the property for now and knock it down in the future to build their dream home.

Mr Verzeletti said the difference between this campaign and a similar one outside of lockdown was the different standard of buyer.

“You don’t get to see the neighbours but you are definitely talking to better quality buyers in lockdown,” Mr Verzeletti said.

“Throughout the campaign we issued 20 contracts, had 49 private inspections and received 68 email enquiries so interest was still there but the buyers are just a level above what you would usually see.”

The listing at 23 Mortimer Close, Cecil Hills was popular with young buyers and today the campaign was capped off with a bang. While the underbidder began the bidding at $750,000, it was a young couple who came in later that cast the winning bid of $952,000. Selling agent Mathew Bell of Ray White Wetherill Park said the final price, which was $152,000 above reserve, just shows that the market is continuing strongly.

“Now is still a good time to sell. There’s very low supply and high demand and the process of auctions hasn’t changed whether it’s in person or online,” Mr Bell said.

“I think that today’s result just goes to show that even hosting the auction online, there are still qualified buyers out there willing to bid strongly.”

In Erskineville, Ray White Surry Hills | Alexandria | Glebe | Erskineville agent Joshua Orly sold a renovator’s dream today through an online auction. No. 13 Bridge Street went under the hammer for $1.34 million to a couple who have just finished a renovation in nearby Newtown and want to replicate the results. Mr Orly said despite the lockdown, he still had a host of buyers eager to buy the property and in the end he conducted more than 50 private inspections while keeping with lockdown restrictions.

“I received huge enquiry from renovators and first home buyers throughout the campaign,” Mr Orly said.

“The market is still hot. There’s not much stock on the market and anyone who lists now is getting all the attention from buyers which is what happened here.”

In Adelaide, Ray White South Australia chief auctioneer John Morris (pictured above) said during lockdown week in the state, there were 140 auctions scheduled to go under the hammer with 36 per cent of them flying the Ray White flag.

“That has dropped down quite significantly, 83 auctions were scheduled for this Saturday alone but that’s dropped down to 40 for the whole weekend,” Mr Morris said.

“What I am particularly happy to say is that I had 18 auctions scheduled for this week and all are going ahead on the online forum, ensuring that we continue to give certainty to our clients in an uncertain time.”

One of the top sales for Ray White in Adelaide today was a four bedroom bluestone villa at 16 Royal Avenue in the city. The character home, located near prime Adelaide parklands, was knocked down by Mr Morris for $1.4 million through an online auction which went $320,000 above reserve.

Ray White Norwood selling agent Nick Borrelli said the buyers saw the home for five minutes, half an hour before the lockdown and were thrilled with the purchase.

“The last week of the campaign being in lockdown didn’t affect it much, we brought forward the mid-week open when we found out and that’s when the buyers came through,” Mr Borrelli said.

“The first two weekends we were able to open and we received a lot of interest from young professional couples looking to get into the city along with a few expats wanting to move back to Adelaide but it was a downsizing couple who ended up buying the property.

“We are still pretty lucky in South Australia that there hasn’t been a lengthy lockdown so far so things haven’t slowed down.”

After searching for a new home for the last two years, the buyer of 52A Cedar Ave, Royal Park can finally end her search. Ray White Port Adelaide agent Rick Schultz sold the property through online auction for $562,000 with 11 registered bidders tuning in – seven of which hadn’t seen the property in person. Mr Schultz said the owners were ecstatic after getting an extra $52,000 on top of the highest pre-auction offer.

“We received an offer prior to auction of $510,000 but by running the full campaign and opening it to as many buyers as possible the vendors were able to achieve a premium price for their home,” Mr Schultz said.

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