Elite Agent - - COVER STORY -

Al­though it’s of­ten re­ferred to as the ‘Aus­tralian mar­ket’, there are marked dif­fer­ences in the prop­erty mar­kets across states and ter­ri­to­ries, and the world of auc­tions is no dif­fer­ent. Some of the states have been fly­ing the auc­tion flag for years while oth­ers are still very new to a world that ex­ists un­der the ham­mer.

2018 is set to be a tough year for some states, with North­ern Ter­ri­tory and Western Aus­tralia feel­ing the pres­sure of life at the bot­tom of the cy­cle. A slow­ing mar­ket was a sim­i­lar topic of con­cern for other states; our auc­tion­eers from New South Wales, Victoria and Queens­land had all felt the pinch. Other states re­main op­ti­mistic, with ris­ing prices in Ho­bart and a steady out­look in the ACT and South Aus­tralia buoy­ing the lack­lus­tre re­sults from other re­gions. •


The mar­ket in Western Aus­tralia isn’t for the faint of heart, as the prop­erty prices will tell you. Al­though many ex­perts are say­ing the re­gion has hit the bot­tom of the cy­cle, it may be a while be­fore prices re­cover.

“Western Aus­tralia has ex­pe­ri­enced a tough few years. We have seen in­creases in the num­ber of prop­er­ties on the mar­ket and de­creases in pop­u­la­tion lev­els,” said Free­man.

“This year we have felt a slight shift in the mar­ket sen­ti­ment; how­ever, it is still prov­ing to be a mar­ket for only the tough­est of agents.”

WA al­lows 10 ven­dor bids (the only state with this num­ber) and doesn’t re­quire bid­ders to reg­is­ter be­fore they place a bid.


There has been mod­est price growth in Ade­laide, but South Aus­tralia is still marked for in­vestor ac­tion and it’s a mar­ket with a more pos­i­tive out­look than some states.

Al­though a low per­cent­age of prop­er­ties on the mar­ket in Ade­laide do go to auc­tion, the rates in the state are higher than oth­ers with big­ger vol­umes. This means that for auc­tion­eers in Ade­laide the out­look is pretty op­ti­mistic. “We’re hav­ing very good feed­back and good par­tic­i­pa­tion,” says Col­man. Buy­ers need to be reg­is­tered be­fore bid­ding at auc­tion in SA and ven­dors are al­lowed three ven­dor bids on the day. Auc­tion­eers must be reg­is­tered in the state to con­duct an auc­tion.

One idio­syn­crasy of the SA mar­ket is that agents can opt to give no price guide be­fore the auc­tion day and in­stead pro­vide a list of re­cent sales. The re­serve price set on the day can­not ex­ceed 10 per cent of any price guide given – whether writ­ten or ver­bal.


Tas­ma­nia is the mar­ket on every­one’s lips, with ABS data from the end of 2017 show­ing Ho­bart to be the fastest-ris­ing cap­i­tal city for res­i­den­tial prices. De­spite it be­ing a small auc­tion mar­ket cur­rently, there’s some ex­cit­ing growth on the hori­zon, says Hart.

Only 1.6 per cent of prop­er­ties went to auc­tion last year in Tas­ma­nia, but Hart re­mains con­vinced that num­ber will rise. “We’ve got some chal­lenges from the auc­tion places down there, but cer­tainly from a real es­tate mar­ket point of view we’ll be one of the best in Aus­tralia,” he added.

Pre-regis­tra­tion is a must in Tas­ma­nia, but there are no lim­its on how many ven­dor bids can be placed.


Things aren’t so sunny in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, where prop­erty val­ues have fallen sig­nif­i­cantly and ven­dors are fac­ing sell­ing at a loss.

“We’re ac­tu­ally hav­ing a mas­sive shake-up; in my 23 years I’ve never seen it so dif­fi­cult,” says Se­condis.

Auc­tion­eers in the state are re­quired to hold a spe­cific li­cence and ven­dors must es­tab­lish a re­serve price prior to auc­tion, which can­not be re­vealed by the auc­tion­eer. There is no limit to the num­ber of ven­dor bids that can be placed.


Al­though ven­dors in the Sun­shine State are be­com­ing more com­fort­able with the auc­tion cul­ture, the re­gion is bat­tling the re­al­i­ties of a cool­ing mar­ket, says Nick­er­son.

“It’s been a real year of change. We’ve had a lot of ‘sold pri­ors’ and when that in­creases in a mar­ket, it is usu­ally a sign that some­thing’s hap­pen­ing with that mar­ket. It’s ei­ther strength­en­ing or weak­en­ing. I think the Bris­bane mar­ket is weak­en­ing a lit­tle bit at the mo­ment,” he says.

Queens­land’s clear­ance rates aren’t as healthy as other states, sit­ting reg­u­larly be­low 50 per cent, but Bell said that some re­gions are do­ing bet­ter than oth­ers; good auc­tion­eer and agent teams can still get prop­er­ties over the line, par­tic­u­larly in Bris­bane.

While Queens­land also re­quires buy­ers to be reg­is­tered to bid on the day, they have a unique sys­tem for price guides. In this mar­ket it’s il­le­gal for a price guide to be pro­vided, and in the event that a prospec­tive buyer wants one the process is fol­lowed in writ­ing.

Queens­land also al­lows lim­it­less ven­dor bids and re­quires auc­tion­eers to have a spe­cific li­cence.


The mar­ket is cool­ing in New South Wales, but ven­dors aren’t get­ting the memo. As a re­sult of the red-hot Syd­ney mar­ket in the past few years, ven­dor ed­u­ca­tion is a ‘hot’ topic with our auc­tion­eers.

“The auc­tion process it­self is still work­ing, it’s still a great way to sell prop­erty, but it is tak­ing a lit­tle bit longer given the ven­dor ex­pec­ta­tion of the price point,” says Ben­son.

It’s the agents who make the dif­fer­ence in the Syd­ney mar­ket, ac­cord­ing to Keenan. He says the great agents he works with, like Gavin Ru­bin­stein, put in the hard yards which is what gets their prop­er­ties over the line.

There’s been a se­vere crack­down on un­der­quot­ing in the past few years in NSW, re­sult­ing in $22,000 for agents with vague price guides. Bid­ders are re­quired to pre-reg­is­ter to bid at a Syd­ney auc­tion, and the ven­dor is awarded one bid per auc­tion.


Brown tells of a more pos­i­tive mar­ket out­look than many states in the ACT, adding that auc­tion­eer­ing is an in­dus­try on the rise.

“We’re an emerg­ing mar­ket in the sense that, while auc­tion has been around for quite a while, it’s now be­ing en­gaged as one of the, if not the, choice ini­tia­tive sales,” he says.

“On the whole I think we’re in a very pos­i­tive mar­ket. We re­main wary of what’s hap­pen­ing around us in the other states, but at this stage the fore­cast looks pretty bright,” he adds.

The ACT also re­quires all bid­ders to be reg­is­tered at an auc­tion and only al­lows one ven­dor bid.


De­spite good re­sults in Jan­uary, an­other dip in the mar­ket in Victoria means agents are hav­ing some tough con­ver­sa­tions with ven­dors.

“Ven­dors are sort of stuck in that hon­ey­moon pe­riod; I think they’re about to get a bit of a hang­over, un­for­tu­nately,” says Reid, adding that ven­dor ex­pec­ta­tions are cur­rently sit­ting around six months be­hind the mar­ket out­look.

Victoria does not re­quire buy­ers to reg­is­ter be­fore an auc­tion, and auc­tion­eers do not need to hold a spe­cific li­cence, un­like other states. They also al­low lim­it­less ven­dor bids.

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