When Ros and Greg Latemore made the decision to sell their Brisbane home of 21 years, they originally had it scheduled to go to auction on a Saturday afternoon.
But then the floods hit and it had to be rescheduled. Instead of automatically pushing the date back to a later Saturday, their agent, Joanna Giannotis of Place Bulimba, suggested they auction their four-bedroom Coorparoo house on a Wednesday evening.
Mrs Latemore said they were initially unsure.
“We were hesitant at first because, aren’t auctions on a Saturday? But when she put the option in front of us with the results of other auctions held during the week and all the reasons why it worked, it made perfect sense,” Mrs Latemore said.
“There’s less competition during the week than there is on a Saturday. In Brisbane, because it’s going to be at 5pm, it’s cooler. People can come after work, rather than rushing around on a Saturday. We’re very comfortable with this decision.”
The couple’s home, which sits on a leafy 809 square metres of land with a pool and opposite parkland, is now scheduled to go under the hammer at 5pm on Wednesday, March 30.
While Saturday has long been the glory day for all things property, the Latemore’s defection to a midweek auction is no real estate aberration.
New research from the first report in Domain’s exclusive three-part In-Focus: Auction Series has revealed the proportion of weekday auctions has doubled in Australia over the past five years, with a quarter of Australian auctions now taking place midweek.
Auctions held midweek, rather than on a Saturday, were already on the rise pre-COVID but when the pandemic hit – and real estate was forced to move online – it accelerated the trend very quickly, said Domain chief of research and economics Nicola Powell.
“Saturday has always been the busiest day for real estate. It was traditionally dictated by the typical working week, providing very little time between the standard workday, the daycare and school run and our everyday hectic lives,” she said.
“The ‘norm’ we had become used to was shaken up by the global pandemic. This has created an instant opportunity to revolutionise how we buy property. The rise of the online auction, the hybrid of an onsite and online bidding environment and ultimately a new type of buyer – the home couch bidder.”
Domain’s analysis also found that midweek auctions were not only growing in popularity, but they were also posting the greatest improvement in clearance rates.
Sydney agent Donovan Murphy of Di Jones Neutral Bay was an early adopter of the midweek auction during the city’s long COVID lockdown last year after realising that buyers would turn up for the property they wanted, no matter what day an auction was held.
“The last two years have taught us there’s far more flexibility than we thought and that the actual auction day is quite flexible,” he said. “People’s Saturdays are so busy in terms of looking at a load of other properties, and families are just so busy on Saturdays, dominated by kids’ sport and birthday parties.”
Mr Murphy sold a three-bedroom apartment at Bay Road at Waverton under the hammer last Wednesday night for $2.25 million, which he described as an “excellent result”.
“Even with all the uncertainty with the weather we had 130 groups inspect and four parties register to bid on the night. I think if you’ve got an emotional connection to the property you’ll buy the house whether it’s getting sold at midnight on a Tuesday night or a Saturday morning.”
It was certainly the case when Brisbane home owner Rob Whiteley sold his Queenslander house in Hawthorne two weeks ago.
On the advice of his agent, Tony O’Doherty from Belle Property, Mr Whiteley’s much-loved family home went to auction at 5pm on a Thursday evening. It fetched $3.245 million under the hammer as a crowd looked on with the city lights and Story Bridge in the background.
“When Tony recommended a Thursday night auction I thought, ‘Wow, Thursday, does anyone come?’” Mr Whiteley said.
“But he showed me the data which very clearly indicated a lot of successful outcomes, and explained that having an auction on a Thursday night was a way to take back a bit of control over the process. We couldn’t control how many other auctions we’d be competing with on a Saturday, so we eliminated that competition by going before them.
“People haven’t got the time they once had. And it worked: we had tried selling with another agent at the end of 2019 and the best offer was $2.5 million. My long-term view is these midweek auctions will only continue.”
On Sydney’s exclusive lower north shore, the need for privacy was driving a marked push from buyers and sellers shunning the traditional on-site Saturday auction, said Ray White agent Geoff Smith.
“There’s a lot of people who want to be discreet. They don’t want half the suburb out there knowing they’re buying a house,” he said.
“A lot of people in our area are very private; they might be working for public companies and they don’t want it out there, they don’t want it in the media.”
Mr Smith said the majority of his auctions were now held in rooms on a Thursday night.
“It works because rain, hail or shine, it doesn’t matter. People want to have their solicitors or people on the phone – that’s easier during the week than it is on a Saturday – and Thursday is when you get all the genuine buyers. Saturdays you get a lot of neighbours and stickybeaks.”
Midweek vs weekend: Is there a difference in auction outcomes?
In short, Saturdays remain the “golden day” to auction property, despite the increased success of the midweek auction.
Australia’s biggest auction markets, Melbourne and Sydney, still strongly favour weekends – 92 per cent of auctions in Melbourne are held on a Saturday and 81 per cent in Sydney.
For the past five years, clearance rates have been higher on a weekend compared to midweek. In 2021, there was an 11-percentage-point greater chance of successfully selling a property at auction on the weekend.
“Unanimously, all cities had a higher clearance rate on a Saturday,” Dr Powell said.
“There were other days that came a close second – Thursday in Sydney and Canberra, Sunday in Melbourne and Brisbane, and Friday in Adelaide.
“For the time being, though, it appears a traditional Saturday auction remains the golden day for popularity among sellers and the greatest chance of selling success.
“The theatre of an auction is a spectator sport in Sydney and Melbourne, and there are hundreds of auctions every week.”
A Saturday auction was never in question for Sydney couple Kathy Pappas and her husband Lachlan, who are selling their family home at Hornsby Heights under the hammer in two days’ time.
“I don’t think anyone is opposed to midweek, but traditionally Saturdays are good. We knew we wanted to auction and it was always going to be a Saturday,” Ms Pappas said.
Their three-bedroom, two-bathroom house located across from parkland is considered entry-level in the area, which played into their decision.
“We thought Saturday would be best for that reason. People buying entry-level homes are not generally busy with kids’ sport – they’re out and about and up early with young children, which is why our auction is early in the day, at 9am,” she said.
“We also noticed that our open houses were busier on a Saturday. We still saw strong numbers on the Wednesdays but Saturdays were definitely busier, so we know the interest is there on that day.”
Their agent, Domenic Maxwell of Ray White Upper North Shore, said he now runs auctions every day of the week.
“I used to be a Saturday-only auction agent but I found through COVID that the day and time didn’t make a difference,” he said.
“If there are people who want to buy they’ll do it any day of the week. We haven’t found there’s any difference in outcome. We decide on the right day of the week according to the property and its strengths. It’s very much a case-by-case basis.”
Melbourne, however, is where the allegiance to Saturday auctions remains strongest.
A whopping 92 per cent of auctions are still held on a Saturday, and for good reason, said David Wood of Belle Property Albert Park.
“When vendors go to sell, they really are rooted to the tradition of a Saturday auction. It’s a lot of money to take the gamble on something that may or may not work,” he said.
“We all know if the buyer interest is there, it’ll always sell – but will you have all your neighbours there at 6pm on a Wednesday night? I don’t think so. There’s always a very small percentage chance that someone rocks up on the day and buys it. People have driven past auctions before and stopped and bought a house on the spot.
“If you go and do it in rooms on a Wednesday night, that opportunistic buyer just won’t be there.”
Mr Wood also noted Melbourne’s weather played into the tradition of Saturdays.
“A Saturday daytime is not as cold as an evening auction in the winter,” he said.
Mr Wood acknowledged that COVID had revealed properties would sell under the hammer on any day of the week but said the biggest change had been the advancement of technology that allowed buyers to bid from wherever they were.
“Melbourne buyers can now be sitting on the beach at Noosa and not just bid remotely, but sign the contracts digitally on their phone,” he said.
“That’s what has really made all the difference. Even if someone is busy on a Saturday, they can still buy a property at auction.”
Article Source: www.domain.com.au