Weekend Auction Wrap: Sydney and Melbourne buyers getting aggressive

It was another busy weekend for auctioneers across the country, with the 2,571 homes taken to auction making it the second busiest weekend of the year.

Melbourne saw another strong result this weekend with 77 per cent of homes selling based on preliminary clearance data from CoreLogic., while Sydney was also strong coming in at 77.2 per cent.

While volumes are high, they are still slightly down on the same time last year. This week last year saw 2,745 auctions, however, the clearance rate was a sluggish 42 per cent for all capital cities, compared to this week’s preliminary clearance rate of 74.1 per cent.

Outside of Melbourne and Sydney, there was also an uptick in the number of homes taken to auction in Adelaide, however, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth were all slightly down.


Around the country, Australia’s leading auctioneers saw mixed results on the ground. Brisbane was a little flat this weekend, while Sydney and Melbourne are continuing to see very aggressive bidding and auction tactics from buyers.

Justin Nickerson (QLD)
Justin Nickerson oversaw a slower weekend in Brisbane, which was very different to only a week ago.

“It was a pretty quiet weekend, especially compared to last weekend which was really strong.

“Overall it was quieter in terms of bidder numbers and under the hammer sales, which was a little disappointing and we did notice registration numbers were down quite significantly coming in.

“So at this stage, it’s hard to tell whether that was a bit of a blip prior to Christmas or if this is how it’s going to be for the next little while.

“Last year, there was a bit of a surge coming into Christmas in Brisbane, so we thought it might have been the start of that again.

“But Queensland overall has been quite inconsistent for a few years now, like what we’ve seen over the last two weekends. We do still have strong volumes all the way into Christmas so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”

Luke Banitsiotis (Victoria)
Luke Banitsiotis had another very strong weekend in Melbourne with the new year already looking busy as well.

“We had seven auctions across all price points and we ended up selling six of them so that was good.

“A couple of them were very strong with the most over reserve at $700,000. The owner followed the process and did all the hard yards and the market just responded, with 250 groups through and it took care of itself.

“We’re flying down here leading into Christmas and it’s going to be an interesting few weeks because everything is selling leading in so we are going to find low stock levels in the next week or two. Then nothing else comes on the market so we could see a few things go way over.

“The start of 2020 is already looking good and we’ve already got 10 auctions listed already, so it’s starting early. Everybody comes back after Christmas refreshed and ready to go. February is quite often a very good time.”

David Holmes (Canberra/QLD)
David Holmes had a relatively quiet weekend in Queensland, which was a bit of a change of pace.

“It wasn’t a particularly busy weekend and we saw around a 40 per cent clearance rate for Queensland.

“I had a couple of sales, but they were really hard-fought long auctions with a bit more hesitation this weekend and crowd sizes were down.

“Even the well-positioned, beautifully-renovated stock wasn’t seeing big crowds and it was quite a hot weekend which wouldn’t have helped.

“Compared to this time last year, we are definitely seeing fewer bidders and smaller crowds, so it’s down. But it is better than what it was six months ago.

“A number of the agents I work with have a really solid pipeline coming into the new year. And it feels like the public are thinking that if they aren’t going to get a great price headed into Christmas, then they are happy to hold for a little while.

“There is talk of growth next year so there is a bit of hesitation at the moment. But days on market are coming down and a few properties sold post-auction so it’s still not too bad.”

Josh Larsen (Sydney)
Josh Larsen oversaw a very strong weekend in Sydney with his auctions seeing the most aggressive bidding action he’s had all year.

“We had a really strong week where we sold 13 from 14, so 92 per cent. Four properties were submitted above $4 million and they sold either prior or at auction which was really strong. Meanwhile, the average number of bidders were five, so that was the strongest of the year.

“Sydney is super-strong at the moment and given that there are buyers missing out each week, buyer urgency has increased. The bidding was the most aggressive I’ve had in probably two years.

“There’s some stock coming on now for 2020. The few good months we’ve had are starting to flow through and that’s giving vendors some confidence.”

Stu Benson (NSW)
Stu Benson is seeing prices continue to push higher in Sydney while noticing some savvy tactics from some buyers.

“Bidding was once again strong in the North West, with multiple auctions that I conducted ending with the gavel falling hundreds of thousands of dollars above their written reserves.

“One of my auctions had an opening bid in that was more than $100,000 above the reserve, placed by a bidder who saw how many paddles were in the crowd and simply came to win.

“Whilst competition continued, his swift replies ensured that he eventually won the 20-minute auction. With low stock still an issue, strategies and results like this are becoming more common.

“I’m also seeing a definite increase in the number of registered bidders at homes that are being styled to sell. That feeling of ‘home’ is an emotive one, and emotion is what seals the deal with the majority of property transactions. Style away, agents!”

Gavin Croft (Sydney)
Gavin Croft had another strong week in Sydney with an 86 per cent clearance rate and good bidder numbers.

“We had 22 BresicWhitney auctions booked this week. Nineteen sold giving a weekly auction clearance rate of 86 per cent with an average of four registered buyers per auction.

“So far this year, BW has conducted 543 auctions, 447 have sold on or before auction giving a YTD auction clearance rate of 82 per cent.”

Matt Condon (Victoria)
Ray White Victoria Tasmania Chief Auctioneer Matt Condon says the market in Victoria is so hot at the moment, bidders are using increasingly aggressive tactics to secure properties.

“It was another strong week for Ray White and it was great to see strong volumes for the group. Preliminary data is showing an increase in both the average crowd sizes as well as the average number of bidders per auction.

“On the ground, buyers are continuing to display a high level of confidence in the market through their bidding strategies.

“Bidders are starting auctions at a high level, in the hopes of knocking out their competition, as well as competing even when the property is announced on the market and selling. Overall, RW Victoria is expecting an exceptional clearance rate.”

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a senior journalist at Elite Agent specialising in finance and real estate.