Auction Action! – Sydney still sagging

One of the great resources that is made available by the Sydney Morning Herald website is the Australian Property Monitors data for residential real estate auctions held in Sydney each week.

There is nothing the average property obsessed Sydneysider likes to do more than to burrow through that data report and see what has sold and what has not.  This allows them to reassure themselves that their patch of heaven is going up, up, up on a warm current of bank created debt lovingly encouraged and supervised by the folks at the RBA and APRA.

One of the results that is often reported and watched with considerable interest is the auction clearance rate (ACR).   When the ACR is above 80% all is well and rejoicing across the land breaks out.

APM define the auction clearance rate (ACR) as being the properties sold at auction + sold those prior to auction divided by all auctions that have been reported + and those that were withdrawn.

That is reasonable, but as many have noted there is a risk that the  ACR initially reported (i.e on Sunday or Monday morning) might look glossier than perhaps it should, if agents are a bit tardy in reporting auctions where a property did not sell (the % numerator) or they did not report that an auction was withdrawn (the % denominator).   By the end of the week when all results have been reported the ACR should be 100% accurate – but by the end of the week few are paying attention to adjustments to the initial ACR as minds are now focused on the forth coming weekend of real estate excitement.

Head of Research at the TGP (a real data dog) does not believe in a day of rest and has instructed select minions to do a manual count of the initial report published by SMH/APM on the weekend and present some additional stats and percentages for your pleasure.

A couple of notes:

  • What is the story about ZERO no bids?  Not a single reported auction had tumbleweeds and an auctioneer begging someone, anyone to make a bid? Perhaps agents are not keen on rushing to report no bid yawn fests.
  • Vendor bids seem a bit thin on the ground as well.
  • Less than 60% of the Auctions listed were reported.  Someone should remind agents that most of Sydney stop breathing waiting for these results and they should make a BIGGER effort to report results before burning rubber from the office on Saturday arvo.
  • It is not clear why approximately 30 reports did not make the report. The number of results in the report (499) do not match the number of reported results (530). This is why there is a 3rd column showing percentage of the 499 results in the report.
  • Of the 885 auctions listed only 20% actually sold at auction (on the assumption that agents are reporting ALL of the successful auctions).  Which means auctions ‘fans’ need to select their auctions carefully for a bit of gavel “sold to the man in the dark sun glasses talking into his wrist” action.

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It is worth noting that the “Property Snapshot” heading to the SMH/APM report – reports the ACR as 57%.  This figure seems to be have been calculated by dividing 369 by (530 + 112 = 642).      If the 530 reported auctions figures do not include the 112 “withdrawn” that would mean that of the 885 auctions listed, reports have been received for (530 + 112) / 885 = 72.5%.  Which is a better performance than 59.89% but still not good enough for data critical to our favourite past time.


This raises some further questions as the report lists only 53 withdrawn auctions and not 112 and the total sales (SP + PN + S + SN + SA) only equals 323 and not 369.   One possible explanation is that the SMH only includes in the listed results properties that were advertised in Domain, but that doesn’t explain the regular absence in the weekend auction result report of most auctions held in Parramatta as those properties are usually advertised in Domain.

Mysteries abound – if anyone can cast some light on  the relationship between the “Snap shot” stats and the contents of the 16 page report please comment below.

Categories: Macrobusiness

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