Misleading and Incorrect Auction Reporting

I have just read the Sunday Telegraph’s property section and in particular under the “Sales action: South”, after attending several of the auctions reported here on Saturday and taking into consideration that I must be objective, there are several discrepancies but none more glaringly obvious as the paragraph regarding the property result in Lilli Pilli.

One of my staff attended this auction. If there were 3 bidders they must have all have introverted personalities to the extreme as no hands were raised which therefore makes it very difficult to pass the property in to a bidder at $3.1mil? Which begs the question, which auction did the writer of this editorial attend? From the article I would say none and definitely not the one in Lilli Pilli which had only one bid, a vendor bid of $3.1mil. I had assumed that these pieces were written by journalists that had attended the particular auctions they focused their articles on. Now that I understand that reporters are reliant on getting the information 2nd hand from the agent it explains why reporting of general market conditions can be so off the pulse and so far from reality. Any buyer/seller/person interested in real estate reading that article would think that 3 bidders competed for that property up until $3.1mil at which point negotiations stalled. In actual fact, no bidder put up their hand.

It is an offense of the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 for an agent to report that a property passed in when in fact it passed in with a vendor bid.  Since launching our auction tracking system we have noticed many discrepancies with what results are recorded for in the Sunday papers but none has been so inconsistent from an editorial piece.

To be fair when I checked the Sun Herald’s real estate section, the Home Price Guide’s auction results show the property passing in, no figure available but at least they didn’t embellish the  result in a paragraph of incorrect, misleading reporting.

I think the media has a responsibility if they are going to report on the real estate market that some effort is made to check accuracy.

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Auction reporting controversy as reported in the Sunday Telegraph

I read with interest the article titled “Auction rates fudged by failed campaigns” on page 11 of Sunday’s Telegraph (6th March, 2011).

The paper reports that the number of unreported auction results for Saturday 26th February in Sydney was 195 out of a total of 622 properties that were listed for auction. The clearance rate was quoted as being 65%.

Beach & Bay Realty has been recording the statistics of auctions in our area with the support of clients, potential purchasers and local residents assisting us with information for 3 years now. We find that each week our statistics for our local area are a lot more accurate than most of the reported results in the Sunday papers.

In the last month in particular we have noticed that the results for the postcodes in 2230 and 2229 have been below the Sydneywide clearance rates by about at least 10 – 15%. Since the start of the 2011 auction year our area has averaged a 50% clearance rate.

I found it interesting that in the same Sunday Telegraph article, Damien Cooley of Cooley Auctions admitted that his company on Saturday 26th February, had a clearance rate of 51%. Being an independent auction company that works for agents around Sydney, their auctioneers have first hand knowledge of the results whether the agents like it or not. WELL DONE Damian!

I also find the Sunday Telegraph’s reporting of auctions confusing. If a property sells at auction it seems to be reported as “A” which under the definitions panel reads simply “Auction”.  Other categories to choose from if an auction is successful are P= Sold Prior, S=Sold, SA=Sold after auction, but no “Sold at Auction” so why do they use A and not S and does A mean sold at auction or just that it went to auction? I think “A” needs to be redefined as “Sold at Auction”!

I have rung the Telegraph to ask them if “A” means that the property sold at auction, or only “S” is sold and no one seems to understand the confusion I have with this. Is it just me?

There is no real answer to these accuracy issues regarding auction statistics but I hope the vendors out there who have not sold find comfort in the fact that really 50% of vendors also did not reach a sale by auction day. The good news is that most properties do sell in the weeks post a failed auction.

Beach & Bay Realty will continue to report on auctions in our suburbs of focus as accurately as is possible. These suburbs are Cronulla, Burraneer, Woolooware, Caringbah, Caringbah South, Lilli Pill and Dolans Bay.

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