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When will auctions really kick off for 2022?

Just over a week into 2022, and the auction market is well and truly back, with auctioneers across the country reporting they’ve never been so busy in January and the auction year has never kicked off this early.

While the market traditionally gears up towards the end of the month, this year is proving very different with agents returning to work early and auctions already slated in many capitals this weekend.

In Sydney, Stu Benson of Benson Auctions noted he had two auctions scheduled for this weekend, but next week would see that volume increase substantially.

“I’ve been in my own business for 13 years and I’ve never had so many auctions listed in January or this early,” Mr Benson explained.

“Normally there’s a lull until late January but this year it’s unseasonably early.”

Mr Benson said it appeared sellers were seeking to get in now and capitalise on the momentum of last year, while buyers were keen to secure a home before the school and work year were back in full swing.

As an example, he noted one agent he works with had listed a property for sale last week and had 60 parties through the home on Saturday.

“That’s unheard of for the first week of January,” he said.

He continued, a litmus test of market conditions would be the traditional first Super Saturday of the year in February, but at the present it continued to be a seller’s market.

“That said, there is a realisation that prices cannot continue to grow 20 per cent every year and not every home will sell at $300,000 above reserve,” Mr Benson said.

“We’re still seeing competition but the expectations are now more realistic.”

In Victoria, it’s a similar story.

Ray White Victoria and Tasmania Chief Executive Officer, Stephen Dullens said some agencies had already hosted their first auctions for the year, while others even continued to hold auctions over the Christmas break.

“One office decided there was no such thing as a Christmas shut down and held five hybrid auctions in late December, selling five of five,” he said.

Last week, Ray White Victoria conducted five more auctions, and this week there are 20 scheduled, with just under 50 slated for the following week, then 150 on the books for the last week of January.

As a comparison, Mr Dullens noted in January 2020, there were 82 auctions held across the whole month.

“Compared to a normal January, our numbers are well up,” he said.

“We’re seeing a huge amount of activity. It’s a clear indicator that a lot of the rules of real estate just simply don’t apply anymore.”

That activity is also proving remarkable in the Sunshine State where Ray White Queensland Chief Auctioneer, Gavin Croft explained the coastal markets were particularly outstanding.

On January 23, the Ray White Surfers Paradise Group will host its first major event of the year, with 150 auctions expected to take place.

“It’s a real case study of the market, and could actually be a world record,” Mr Croft said.

“In my 22 years in real estate I’ve never seen anyone hit 150 auctions in one event.”

On January 27, Ray White Elanora will hold their major event, with 25 to 30 auctions already scheduled, while the Ray White Burleigh and Robina Group will conduct around 50 auctions on the same day.

“In the space of a week Ray White on the coast is conducting around 250 auctions in a seven-day period,” Mr Croft said.

“That’s an incredibly strong start to the year and will give us a really good sense of the market’s depth and strength.”

On the Sunshine Coast and in Brisbane, Mr Croft noted many agents had also returned to work early.

“There’s a lot of onsite auction activity already on the Sunshine Coast, while the bigger agencies in Brisbane will really kick off their auction schedule in the first week of February.”

Mr Croft said a major driver of the market on the Sunshine and Gold Coasts was the fact this would be the first opportunity for interstate buyers from places like Sydney and Melbourne to attend auctions in person.

“Previously buyers were bidding over the phone and viewing online, so this reopening of the borders is a key driver of these volumes, with astute vendors deciding to come to market now.”

Over in South Australia, Ray White SA Chief Auctioneer, John Morris is also gearing up for his first week of auctions for 2022.

“This weekend we are back in full force. Where normally I might have one auction this early in January, this weekend we’re calling six,” he said.

“I think we’re basically starting 2022 where we finished 2021, which ended on a massive high.”

Mr Morris noted he was also hearing from agents that people had been keen to view properties throughout the Christmas break.

“We’re definitely back and I can’t see a slowdown occurring, especially in Adelaide where people are now getting used to higher prices,” he said.

Mr Morris explained last year had proved a stellar year for auctions in South Australia.

“Traditionally auctions comprise 3-5 per cent of property sales, but at one point last year they were 16 per cent, and throughout the year they sat at around 12 per cent consistently,” he said.

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.