Market Buy auction switch a virtual winner

Victoria’s snap lockdown hasn’t dampened buyers’ enthusiasm with a Mornington Peninsula house selling at auction for more than $500,000 above reserve through virtual sales platform Market Buy last week.

Last Wednesday, Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino announced what was initially a seven-day “circuit-breaker” lockdown for the entire state, taking effect from midnight on May 27.

Under the stage-three restrictions, no in-person property inspections or onsite auctions are allowed, and vendors were encouraged to move their auctions online.

As Market Buy Chief Executive Officer David Stewart told Elite Agent, this led to several agents contacting him to discuss moving their transactions on to the platform.

“I got a call from one agent from Fletchers Mornington Peninsula who had a property in Blairgowrie that was due to go to an onsite auction on Saturday,” Mr Stewart said.

“He was looking for an alternative way to still conduct the auction but obviously still maintain it within the COVID restrictions and be able to do it off-site. 

“We conducted a Zoom meeting with him on the Wednesday afternoon where we explained what we do, how it works and how we operate, and we signed him up pretty much straight away to Market Buy.”

Mr Stewart said he was able to set up the listing in less than 24 hours, and following a quick training session, the agent was on his way.

“We did talk to him fairly continuously as he got himself used to the software,” Mr Stewart added.


The auction for the four-bedroom two-bathroom house at 11 Maxwell Street, Blairgowrie, kicked off at 1.30pm on Saturday, May 29.

Mr Stewart said in addition to eventually attaining a price of more than $2.5 million, the auction attracted 23 registered bidders and six active bidders.

“The auction started at $1.7 million, the reserve was $2 million, and it hit reserve within two minutes of the sale opening,” he said.

“It continued on from there, and we ended up with 107 separate bids and it sold for $2,526,001, so $526,001 over reserve.”

Mr Stewart was quick to add that Market Buy is not exclusively an auction platform and not all listings they had attracted since Victoria entered lockdown last week had been for traditional auctions.

“When we first set up Market Buy four or five years ago, we didn’t really want an auction platform,” he said.  

“There are plenty of auction platforms around and I was probably a little bit scared to go and offer a rival to Melbourne Auctioneers, with Melbourne being the auction capital of Australia.

“We ended up clearing six Victoria-based sales on Saturday through listings that were originally scheduled to go through other forms.

“Some agents transferred listings to Market Buy for more sale by tender-type processes – the Blairgowrie house is the one that was closest to a very traditional auction and was the standout.”

Mr Stewart said Market Buy‘s main intention was to be able to provide a service that ensured agents were still able to conduct their business effectively despite the tighter social restrictions.

Although social restrictions won’t necessarily be extended, Mr Stewart said agents were bracing for the possibility, and he and the Market Buy team were already in the process of shifting further listings and auctions on to the platform for a variety of agents.

“Our message to agents, particularly in Victoria, is we’re ready,” he said. “We’ve got the capabilities, we’ve got the time, we’ve got the ability and we don’t need a long runway to prepare them.  

“The platform is so simple to use, it only takes us about half an hour to 45 minutes on a Zoom meeting to share the information agents need to successfully run an auction or sales process.”

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Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson was the news editor for Elite Agent. He worked with the company from February 2020 to June 2020. For current stories, news alerts or pitches, please email

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