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Auctions this week: Clearance rates continue to tick higher on low volume

It may still be the middle of winter but that hasn’t stopped the resurgence in the auction clearance rate across the country.

In Sydney, the preliminary clearance rate was up to 81.5 per cent, its highest in more than 18 months.

In Victoria CoreLogic figures also showed Melbourne posted a solid preliminary clearance rate of 70 per cent, keeping it around the highest levels we’ve seen this year.

However, there is a big asterisk next to these numbers as volumes continue to be very low and that’s what Australia’s leading auctioneers are also seeing.

Justin Nickerson (QLD, NZ)

Two-time Australasian Auctioneer Of The Year winner Justin Nickerson of Apollo Auctions said volumes still remained light in Queensland.

“It was another quiet weekend volume-wise,” he noted.

While Nickerson expects a pickup in activity next week, he’s not sure how that will translate.

“It will be very interesting to see whether that increased volume will translate into more sales or whether it actually drops down.”

Stu Benson (NSW)

Sydney’s expert in the Hills district, Stu Benson, feels, while the numbers look good, it is actually a quiet time of year for sales.

“It was a little bit quiet out there in terms of volume. I look back pretty much at this weekend every year as being a quiet one.

“It’s just the tail end of the school holidays. Everybody’s still away.

“So traditionally, I think I think we were all geared up for it to be a quiet weekend and of the six auctions that I had scheduled, three had sold prior.

“We had great activity at the three that I did call. Again, just echoing what we’ve seen the last couple of weeks; strong bidding numbers and strong numbers of registered bidders, great crowds and still a lot of curiosity as to what’s going on in the market.”

Gavin Croft (NSW, NZ)

BresicWhitney’s in-house auctioneer, Gavin Croft, believes there has been a big shift in the number of buyers and the overarching theme of fear that has occurred in the last six months has somewhat disappeared.

“It was a quiet weekend numbers-wise, but no shortage of interest and activity seeing five auctions booked, five sold, giving a weekly auction clearance rate of 100 per cent and an average of five registered bidders per auction.

“This year we have conducted 304 auctions, 238 have sold on or before auction, giving a YTD auction clearance rate of 78 per cent.

“I’ve been in real estate for 19 years and I’m seeing a pretty big change in market sentiment.

“The speed of the change is quite impressive at the moment. You can get so caught up in the daily grind that you need to adapt to the change quickly as well.

“Spring will be a good test when volumes can back in.”

AJ Coleman (SA)

Adelaide Auction expert AJ Coleman said, despite the low numbers, results were strong for vendors.

“Out of our combined 10 auctions for the weekend we sold 100 per cent. There was a lot more confidence this weekend and in one auction three of the bidders were bidders on auctions from a few weeks ago.

“Given it’s winter, I think the reason we’re seeing increased clearance rates is because we’re seeing a shortage of stock.

“But there are still people wanting to buy.”

Alec Brown (ACT)

Alec Brown from Ray White Canberra says things are still a little quiet in Canberra.

“Things were a little bit lighter-on right across the ACT.

“We only had the two – both those selling but it was a case of really working for it.

“I reported 23 auctions for the territory in the last week with only 47 per cent as the clearance rate. I guess a trend that we are still seeing is the prevalence of selling prior to auction due to the fact that there are good quality buyers out there who are in a position to do something ahead of time.

“If you can get that ahead of auction day itself, it’s obviously the best outcome for the seller to be able to move forward unconditionally.”

David Holmes (Brisbane/Gold Coast)

David Holmes believes if you are not auctioning you could be missing out on a great branding opportunity, simply through running the process.

“We had a number of registered bidders at each auction this weekend.

“I think I only had one auction that was passed in from seven auctions that didn’t have registered bidders.

“Things we are seeing are definitely larger crowds and more decisive buyers in the last couple of weeks.

“The last three weeks we are also starting to see active bidders which is really, really good.”

Holmes also notes the drive for quality properties rather than renovators delights.

“People are really wanting homes that are renovated or immaculately presented. But the increased activity is not likely to lead to a big spike in prices – yet.

“There are still healthy gaps between vendors believing what’s going on newspapers. But definitely the buyers are more willing to put pen to paper.”

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