Aussies gamble on auction clearance rates

Aussie punters can now gamble on weekly auction clearance rates, after online betting website Sportsbet opened a new ‘novelty’ option.

Property enthusiasts can vote on three categories, what they think clearance rates will be in the Sydney and Melbourne markets, and which capital city will have the best clearance rate.

At $1.75, Sydney is the hot favourite to win, followed by Melbourne at $2.20, Canberra at $7.00, Brisbane at $10.00, Adelaide at $11.00, Perth at $15.00 and Tasmania in last place at $21.00.

Novelty trading and marketing expert at Sportsbet Will Byrne told Real Estate Business the introduction of the auction clearance rates was due to the huge discussion around it.

“Now we’re seeing more coverage about the auction clearance rates,” he said. “The focus is around Melbourne, but Sydney had a record last weekend, making a topical debate amongst everyday life that we thought we might as well get involved in conversation," he said.

“It’s good to give the public an opportunity to actually have their say, especially if they plan on partaking in an auction on the weekend. It makes it a little more exciting for them to see how it’s going to turn out.”

Mr Byrne said the topic had received a good response and that it had been welcomed by people from within the industry because it put more attention on it.

This is the first time that Sportsbet had allowed people to vote on auction clearance rates. At the start of the year, the betting site gambled on the topic of housing prices and whether they would increase or decrease.

Auctioneer with Cooley Auctions, Andrew Cooley said his concern with betting on clearance rates was the accuracy.

“The figures that are put out by organisations like RP Data and APM are not 100 per cent accurate. So, to establish an accurate clearance rate is nearly impossible because if a property is withdrawn or not sold, a lot of agents don’t necessarily record that result, so the official clearance rate is never really known," he explained.

“Personally, I don’t have a problem with anyone betting on clearance rates. If you’re trying to find an advantage, maybe it makes people pay attention to what’s happening in the marketplace and it makes people think more about auctions and have a look at clearance rates and look at the results.”

Will Hampson from My Auctioneer said that auctions were often analogised to a competitive sport, like horse racing and football.

“Australians love going to the races and betting on the horses. We’ve seen Australians getting behind and betting on their football team,” he said.

Wife and colleague Kate Lumby from My Auctioneer agreed, saying she was surprised it had not happened already.

“Australians love auctions and that’s why they are attracted to them like sporting events,” she said.

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