The latest quarterly auction results released today came as no surprise as the nation faced some of the greatest disruptions to usual business practices during this period. As the COVID-19 virus continued to accelerate through the first quarter of the year, social distancing measures were increased immediately prior the June quarter. 

These restrictions resulted in the banning of on-site auctions and inspections, forcing real estate agents to pivot to online solutions or convert to private treaty methods of sale in a bid to maintain business as usual. However, online solutions weren’t enough to maintain the usual levels of activity seen, and large proportions of homes that were scheduled for auction prior to the bans started being withdrawn from the market.  Equally, the number of homes scheduled for auction each week remained at lower than usual levels throughout May.

The June 2020 quarter saw 13,783 auctions held, down 27 per cent when compared to the March quarter (18,902), and 24 per cent lower than the June quarter last year (18,104). Of the 11,956 auction results collected over the latest quarter, 31 per cent reported a withdrawn result, which was significantly higher than the 6.1 per cent withdrawn over the March quarter. The first six weeks of the quarter saw withdrawal rates as high as 56 per cent as vendors looked to alternative methods of sale or chose to postpone until conditions improved. By mid-May withdrawal rates started to normalise as the flow of pre-scheduled auctions eased.

The month of May saw weekly auction numbers remain below 1,000 across the combined capital cities, reaching as low as 417 over the week ending 17th May. Head of research Eliza Owen noted the decline in auction volumes could be attributed to market conditions, as well as physical bans on onsite auctions. 

She said “The initial market response to COVID-19 was a severe drop in sales and listings across both auction and private treaty sales methods. Many vendors who did not have to sell were initially unwilling to take their property to market in a time of high uncertainty. This contributed to a fall in sales volumes of -32.4% over April. However, following this initial shock, transaction activity has steadily recovered as social distancing measures eased, and consumer confidence levels experienced a strong recovery in May and June.”

June saw auction volumes increase as restrictions were eased, with 1,485 auctions held across the combined capitals over the week ending 28th June. 

Auction Market Review Highlights