Hammer time meets paddle time as Box Hill trials Sydney-style auctions


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Melbourne buyers are getting their first taste of Sydney-style bidding paddles.

Sydney-style auctions are being trialled on Melbourne’s streets with buyers being asked to register and wield a paddle at hammer time.

But the state’s industry authority on auctions has cautioned the method could leave some buyers up the creek without a, well, paddle.

Ray White Box Hill has been “successfully trialling” the process since January and auctioneer Aaron McDonald said they were getting “good feedback” from buyers, with four sales under the hammer from five auctions so far.

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3/15 Stanley St, Box Hill South sold under the hammer with bidding by paddles on Saturday.

“We’re finding it’s working really well, where there’s a strong buyer pool — particularly with first-home buyers,” Mr McDonald said.

“We haven’t tested it with a big family home yet.

“But we have only had one person question why they should register … and two people have opted not to use the paddle.”

1/21 Barcelona St, Box Hill got a result with registered bidders earlier in the year.

He said the approach was a bid to better understand what buyers were looking for so they could alert unsuccessful bidders to similar homes in the area that came up for sale later.

The approach also added to the sense of street theatre.

“It creates a bit of theatre and fun, and it’s not foreign to people — they have seen it on TV,” Mr McDonald said.

Real Estate Institute of Victoria vice president and auction chapter leader Adam Docking said he wasn’t aware of anyone else doing it in Victoria. It is common in Queensland and New South Wales.

G03/2-4 Elland Ave, Box Hill is also on the list of homes sold with bidding by paddles.

But while there was nothing wrong with the idea, the “law of unintended consequences” might leave some buyers up the creek without a paddle.

“The issue is a buyer without a paddle might feel they are unable to bid — which would be my biggest concern,” Mr Docking said.

“In a market like this you want to give every buyer every chance to put their hand up, and this might leave them feeling compelled not to bid.”

This didn’t seem to pose an issue at 3/15 Stanley St, Box Hill South on May 11, with five bidders fighting it out — with paddles — for the two-bedroom unit.

There were 11 bidders registered and armed with paddles for the auction of 4/33 Albion Rd, Box Hill.

Another 10 were registered, but didn’t get a chance to bid after a $620,000 opening offer that quickly rose to the $655,000 reserve and ultimately sold for $694,000.

The unit had a $600,000-$660,000 pre-auction range.

Paddles were also used at 1/21 Barcelona St, Box Hill, which sold $40,000 above reserve at $670,000.

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In the same suburb, a two-bedroom apartment at G03/2-4 Elland Ave sold for $546,000 with two bidders registered, while 4/33 Albion Rd had 11 bidders registered and armed with paddles before it sold for $451,000 under the hammer.

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