More people are choosing to sell their homes at auction these days, but it isn’t always the right decision.

With a lot of media coverage focused on big auction results and high octane, frenzied bidding environments, it’s easy to forget that auctions only make up an average of around 15 per cent of property sales.

The rest go relatively quietly on the private treaty market. Sure, in some markets around Australia, you would just about be mad not to go under the hammer right now.

Sydney is one city where auction numbers are on the up, due to the huge levels of demand.

Melbourne is another market where auctions are particularly popular.

Adelaide and Brisbane are also experiencing greater volumes than usual in 2015.

But in the other capitals, it’s a rare method of selling. So, when you’re thinking about how you should sell your home, consider the local market.


Even if your capital city is big on auctions, your suburb may not be.

Even if your suburb is an auction hot spot, you might be on the private treaty side of town. You’ve got to take your research all the way down to street level.

If most homes in your neighbourhood sell by private treaty, there’s not much point putting yours under the hammer.

Buyers won’t compete for your house, when they can get a similar one down the road for less money and without the stress.

But if auctions are common, it may mean your area commands a high level of bidders, or there’s a shortage of available homes for sale.

Anything that tips the supply and demand balance in favour of sellers will mean people are likely to go toe to toe and pay extra for your house.


Extra competition is an auction seller’s friend.

The more buyers in the mix, the more people have made the effort to see your house, imagine themselves living there and start getting used to the idea. They will then fight to keep the dream alive.

Some sellers baulk at the idea of an auction, because they think it can be expensive, and to be fair, it may cost a couple of thousand extra in marketing and auctioneer fees.

But if you’re in the right market, that relatively small outlay can mean the property sells for much more than you expected, making up the extra costs several times over.

Seek advice from real estate agents, as they should know the local market well enough to help you choose how to sell.

Tim McIntyre is the senior real estate reporter for the Daily Telegraph and Over the past decade, he has attained widespread knowledge of Australia’s many unique property markets and is an authority on all things buying, selling and investing. His commentary appears every Saturday in the Daily Telegraph Real Estate lift out, as well as online at

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