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Best time to sell your house at auction

By Matthew McCormack

hen it comes to selling your home, the early bird catches the buyers.

While Saturday remains the most popular day for auctions, new data shows early morning auctions achieve a higher clearance rate than those held later in the day.

An analysis of data for more than 60,000 auctions held between 1 May 2015 and 15 May 2016 in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbanereveals the most successful time to auction a property.

The analysis compared the clearance rates in all three cities against the most common auction times, days and seasons to discover which combination is most likely to result in a sale.

Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Hobart and Darwin were excluded from the results as they did not meet the data requirements, as most properties in these cities are not sold via auction.

Best time to sell your house

Saturday remains the most popular day to sell a home at auction. While this can be a boon for sellers, it often means more competition for buyers.

Of the over 60,000 auctions analysed,  89.6% went under the hammer on a Saturday and 1.6% were auctioned on a Sunday.

Winter is the season with the highest clearance rates.

Mid-week auctions in Sydney and Brisbane also achieve high clearance rates, though there are far fewer properties auctioned at that time.

Getting in early appears to be the best sales strategy, with auctions and 9am and 10am delivering higher clearance rates than at other times of the day.

In Sydney 75% of 9am auctions result in a sale and in Melbourne 73.2% of properties auctioned at 10am are sold.

In Brisbane 49% of properties auctioned at 9am result in a sale and 42.45% of 10am auctions end in a sale.

REA Group Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee says the decline in clearance rates in the middle of the day suggests early sales have an impact on properties auctioned later in the day.

“It may be that as houses sell throughout the day, there are fewer buyers in the market,” Conisbee says.

“For example, if a purchaser has two properties they are interested in and the first is at 9am and the second is at 11am, then if they are successful at auction at the first, they are no longer interested in the 11am purchase.”

The varied Saturday clearance rates associated with different times did surprise LJ Hooker Head of Research Mat Tiller.

“In some states, there’s as much as a 12% point difference between whether you sell early in the day, in the middle of the day or at the end of the day – that variance is quite significant,” he says.

However he says the numbers may also reflect more what individuals are doing on weekends, rather than their interest in auctions.

“People like to attend auctions first thing, get it over and done with.  But the middle of the day is probably the busiest time of the weekend given things like kids going to sport, some might have lunches (to attend) and things like that,” he says.

The results for Sunday follow a similar pattern, with auctions held at 10 and 11am associated with much higher clearance rates than those held during the middle of the day.

Best season to sell your house

So if Saturday is the day most choose to auction their house what is the best season to sell?

While most think of spring when auctioning a home, the data shows that buyers see things differently says Conisbee.

“Winter came up as the season in which clearance rates were the highest. The amount of stock in the market is slightly less, so this is a factor, however it does show that if you want to sell, the season should not be a restriction,” she says.

Average clearance rates across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for winter were 74%, while autumn came in second with an average clearance rate of 69.8%. Spring, which most think of as the traditional selling season, had an average clearance rate of 61.8%, while summer was slightly lower at 61.1%

Public holidays and school holidays can also have an impact, according to Tiller.

“If you’re selling a family house, it’s probably not good to do it on a long weekend or during school holidays as families tend to be away,” he says.

Is an auction right for you?

In places like Melbourne and Sydney auction volumes are much higher and buyers are therefore more likely to respond to an auction than a private sale.

“Right now the markets achieving the strongest clearance rates are all in Sydney and Melbourne. This also reflects the strong performance of the housing market in these areas,” says Conisbee.

“The suburbs in Melbourne with the highest clearance rates were the middle and outer suburbs of Bellfield, Croydon South, Viewbank and Scoresby. In Sydney, inner suburbs tended to see the highest clearance rates with Millers Point, Balmain East, Bondi Junction and Ultimo.”

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