Solo bidders win big at auctions ahead of holidays: Report

Auction markets ended the spring season on a strong note, thanks to a flurry of buyers and sellers keen to transact ahead of the holiday season. 

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A new report from Apollo Auctions showed the last auction month of the year saw healthy auction clearance rates, as 61.1 per cent of properties that the group saw go under the hammer across Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and the Gold Coast resulted in a sale during November. 

The latest monthly figures are up from the 59.50 per cent average clearance rate recorded in October.

The Gold Coast and Sydney emerged as the top-performing cities in November, recording auction clearance rates of about 64 per cent and 62 per cent, respectively — both solid increases from the clearance rates recorded last month.

Brisbane and Perth were not far behind, recording clearance rates of 58.8 per cent and 70 per cent, respectively. 


The report also showed that the average number of bidders across auctions during the period was 30.1 people, up from 28.25 in the previous month. 

Despite the increased attendance figures, Apollo Auctions director Justin Nickerson noted that majority of the properties sold during the tail end of the spring selling season were snatched up by bold solo bidders.

“Across the Apollo Auctions markets, single-bidder auctions were unusually common, with serious buyers prepared to do what was necessary to secure their next home or investment property, while everyone else waited — often unsuccessfully — for the property to be passed in for the chance to throw their hat in the ring. Many never got that opportunity,” he commented. 

While the volume of attendees and registered bidders remained at healthy levels, the independent auction agency pointed out that the percentage of active bidders fell to around 55 per cent, down from 65 per cent last month.

“It’s clear that single bidders are making the most of some buyer hesitation at auction and are being rewarded with successful results,” Mr Nickerson noted.

A closer look at the data told the story of a spring selling season that unfolded in different ways across the country. 

While the average days on market continued to grow in Brisbane, local auctioneer Mark MacCabe claimed that the conditions are still “positive in the region”. 

He cited several factors, including interest rates starting to level out, supply remaining short, constant demand, and buyers’ reasonable expectations, as to why he believes the Sunshine State capital is “one of the best markets across the country”. 

In Melbourne, local auctioneer Andy Reid reported that family homes that are presented well are fetching a premium that would impress in any market. 

While he acknowledged that there aren’t as many buyers around, he noted that those that are in the market in Melbourne are so incredibly motivated that it is still creating huge competition. 

Sydney saw a “business as usual” end of spring, with the auction agency noting that agents rolled out campaigns rather than “squirrelling” them away for the start of 2023 due to the high number of buyers and sellers keen to close a deal during the month.

And although auction clearance rates remained healthy in Perth, local auctioneer Richard Kerr noted that “numbers of groups through opens remain lower than earlier in the year, with single-bidder auctions recorded at about 60 per cent of our November auctions”. 

“As the days on market continue to return to a normal level, more agents are communicating with renewed interest in using the auction method of sale, so expect to see a higher number of auctions in the west in 2023,” Mr Kerr added. 

Looking ahead, Mr Nickerson expects the auction markets to see a strong start in 2023. 

“As we head into the holiday period, savvy agents have been preloading their sales calendars with auctions for later in January, and with signs that the market softening has slowed, everyone is looking forward to a solid year in property in 2023,” he said.

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