Melbourne auctions go online or get rescheduled during new lockdown
What was meant to be Melbourne’s second-biggest auction weekend of the year has become yet another scramble by the property market to postpone or sell online following the snap lockdown announced on Thursday.
Melbourne’s house prices have been riding high in the months since the real estate market reopened following the COVID-19 lockdown last year and this weekend, dubbed a “Super Saturday”, was set to be no exception, with a massive 1269 properties scheduled to go under the hammer.
An analysis of Domain data revealed Melbourne hasn’t seen such a high volume of auctions in late Autumn since 2017, when the final two weekends in May had 1091 and 1109 scheduled auctions, respectively.
But with on-site public auctions and property inspections banned as part of the lockdown, many of those auctions won’t go ahead.
Melbourne agents are now rushing to help their vendors decide whether to go ahead this weekend and sell online, or postpone their auction for a couple of weeks.
Helen and Daniel Squillacioti are among hundreds of Melbourne vendors who have decided to move their auction online this weekend.
The Ferntree Gully couple are selling their home at 12 Silverton Drive on Saturday afternoon, and plan to move closer to family in Burwood with their two-month-old son.
They say they considered moving the auction forward to Thursday night so they could hold it on-site but in the end decided to keep their original Saturday auction time and move it online.
“We started having those conversations with our agent on Wednesday when a lockdown was looking more and more likely,” Ms Squillacioti said.
“We thought bringing it forward would be an option, but then we thought that buyers would have already made plans to attend on Saturday whether it was here or online,” she said.
“Our agent has been really supportive in the process and assured us that we will have the same amount of interest and the same result even if the auction is held online. So we feel comfortable with that.”
Kay & Burton director Scott Patterson said “at least 50 per cent” of the vendors who were scheduled to sell at auction on Saturday had moved their auctions online, while others had chosen to postpone.
“We’ve seen a mixture of things happening. In some cases we’ve simply moved the auction online because we are confident we will still attract multiple bidders and then some clients have asked to push out their auctions by two weeks,” he said.
Mr Patterson said vendors were reluctant to postpone auctions by just one week because of the uncertainty around whether the current lockdown could be extended.
“The good thing is the market is strong and this short lockdown won’t change that. The market is still low on supply, we’ve still got low interest rates and we’re still seeing pent-up demand and in seven days we can pick up where we left off,” he said.
Some agents, like Claudio Zanelli from Woodards Ascot Vale, acted quickly when the lockdown was announced, immediately bringing auctions forward toThursday night in order to beat the state-wide lockdown and get a result in person.
“I was lucky I only had one auction this Saturday,” he said of the two-bedroom period home at 33 Newell Street in Footscray.
“We decided to bring it forward because we thought it was better to do it in person. And we didn’t want to postpone it and lose that momentum that we had,” he said.
The property, which was listed with a price guide of $890,000 to $960,000, was passed in at $980,000 and remains on the market with a reserve of $1.05 million.
Auctioneer Marshall Rushford from Belle Property Caulfield also decided to bring forward the auction of a two-bedroom Elwood apartment to Thursday night, rather than holding it online on Saturday.
“I was actually sitting with the vendors when the lockdown was announced on Thursday … and so we decided to bring the whole thing forward there and then,” he said.
Five bidders vied for the apartment, which sold for $653,000 – $150,000 above the reserve.
“Online auctions are OK and we’ve done them before in lockdown but you can’t emulate the look and feel and the emotion of actually being on the spot, bidding in front of the house you want to buy, and seeing the other bidders. We think it is a win-win for buyers and sellers,” he said.
Ray White Victoria and Tasmania chief executive Stephen Dullens said he expected the “majority” of the group’s almost 200 auctions scheduled for this weekend to go ahead online.
However, he said, some agents had brought forward plans to sell under the hammer, hastily rescheduling auctions planned for Saturday to Thursday night.
“After what happened last year everyone is familiar with the online element and online auctions. We have the ability to move things online very easily and so for us, it’s a matter of just putting that into effect,” he said.
“This is a bit of deja vu for most of us, so I think everyone is pretty prepared and ready to go online.”
Domain senior research analyst Nicola Powell said this Saturday had been set to be the second busiest weekend of this year with a bumper number of auctions scheduled on the back of an unusually high volume of auctions for May compared to previous years.
“Obviously, this seven-day lockdown has changed this and I think as well as people postponing auctions and moving them online, many agents will have swiftly brought forward negotiations with buyers and you will have seen some properties being sold prior to auction,” Dr Powell said.
Ref: RACHEL WELLS (on 29 May 2021). Melbourne auctions go online or get rescheduled during new lockdown. Retrieved from https://www.domain.com.au/news/bumper-auction-weekend-hits-speed-bump-auctions-rescheduled-moved-online-1058768/.
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