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Auctions kick up a gear in busiest week in more than six months

This week is shaping up to be the busiest week for auctions since March, with more than 3000 properties set to go under the hammer across the nation – including the return of onsite auctions in Sydney.

CoreLogic’s National Auction Market Preview shows 3096 auctions are booked across the combined capital cities for the week ending October 17, including 983 homes going under the hammer in the harbour city.

It’s Sydney’s busiest week since late June and 158 auctions up on last week

While spring is usually peak auction season, Sydney’s boost in numbers is no doubt due, at least in part, to the return of onsite auctions, and confidence they bring, after the city hit its 70 per cent double-dose vaccination target and celebrated lockdown ending on October 11.

Auctioneer Damian Cooley, of Cooley Auctions, said he had six onsite auctions this Saturday and he was looking forward having a live crowd of bidders.

“As auctioneers, we’re all excited to get back in front of people,” he said.

“Saturday is looking really good. We had 68 auctions booked but 21 of those have sold already.”

Mr Cooley said some of the auctions would be held onsite and some would remain online, and he predicts this will be the case going forward.

He said more buyers, vendors and agents now had solid belief in the benefits of online auctions.

“Moving forward, what we think we’re going to be seeing is really a hybrid model,” Mr Cooley explained.

“We have some agents that want to continue just doing online and we have some agents that want to use more of a hybrid model where we do them in person, but if someone doesn’t turn up they can bid online and we still livestream the auction.”

Mr Cooley said they would continue to use technology to livestream every auction and register all bidders, even if the auction was onsite.

“It really helps in our reporting to owners and it helps our understanding who was present at the auction,” he said.

Mr Cooley said the next few weeks would see a readjustment in the auction space as some auctions that were scheduled to be held online return onsite.

But he said some auctions would remain online and this really helped auctioneers service more clients.

“Geographically it’s impossible to get from Manly to Double Bay in 30 minutes,” Mr Cooley explained.

Even though his six auctions are all being held onsite on Saturday, Mr Cooley said there would still be online bidders and he tipped this would be a trend that continued.

He said he was excited that the market had so easily accepted online auctions and he expected it would take to the hybrid model just as enthusiastically.

“It’s exciting to see the change in the auction model and the change in real estate,” Mr Cooley said.

“It’s really exciting to see that embraced by everyone because it was a tough slog for us.

“Three years ago, trying to convince agents that this was the way forward, everyone just shut us down and it was a really hard conversation.

“Now everyone is saying, ‘Absolutely, you’re right, this is what we’re going to be doing’.”

Damien Cooley of Cooley Auctions

Apollo Auctions Director Justin Nickerson said online and in-room auctions had been available to agents and vendors long before the pandemic hit, but it had forced the industry to adapt.

“Before the pandemic, it’s not like online or in-room auctions were not available to agents and vendors, but most of the time traditional onsite auctions were the most popular,” he said.

“However, when big chunks of the population are locked down but still keen to buy and sell real estate, the auction sector had to evolve to ensure that we were providing them the opportunity to do so.”

Mr Nickerson said the fact that auction clearance rates had generally remained between 70 and 80 per cent, depending on the location, was proof the industry had adapted.

He said said it was unlikely auctions would return to predominantly onsite once all areas were out of lockdown.

“In areas that weren’t locked down often we have been running hybrid auctions that provide the opportunity for buyers to interact in whichever way suits them best,” Mr Nickerson said.

“Some bidders might be attending the in-room auction, others may be bidding via telephone and some may decide to lodge their bids online while watching the livestream of the auction.

“This level of choice was never the norm before but I believe it will be from now on.”

Apollo Auctions Director Justin Nickerson.

Mr Cooley said the catalyst for agents getting onboard with online auctions was seeing how accepting buyers and vendors were of the model.

“Vendors are now saying, ‘What is your online strategy’?” he said.

Mr Cooley said the market was really strong right now and he expected that to increase as more restrictions eased and more people returned to onsite auctions and open homes, where neither agents or attendees are required to be double-vaccinated (in NSW).

In Melbourne 1544 auctions are scheduled this week, which is the highest number of auctions in the city since late March.

Across the smaller capital cities, Brisbane will host the highest number of auctions at 211, followed by Adelaide (201), Canberra (131), Perth (25) and in Tasmania there will be just one auction this week.

Mr Nickerson said the use of in-room auctions was also likely to continue to rise with more vendors and agents now better understanding the benefits of such a location.

“One of the main things I believe they have learnt is that in-rooms remove the chances of being rained on or being drowned out by traffic noise or the party raging next door, while still securing an excellent result in a more controlled environment,” he said.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.