Home Buyers

GEN Y is shying away from auctions because they simply can’t handle the pressure. The problem is exacerbated for this generation who prefer the safety of their smartphones and shun public speaking.

New research has found 18 per cent of Australians are afraid of buying and selling houses at auction, while for Generation Ys it’s a much higher 27 per cent. The survey of 2017 people by comparison website Finder.com.au found that only 7 per cent of Baby Boomers were scared by auctions and 20 per cent of Generation X were worried.

“Younger generations are so used to being safely behind a smartphone screen that the idea of bidding in public is terrifying for many,” said Finder spokeswoman Bessie Hassan. She said the situation was getting worse and questioned whether traditional property auctions would die out but other real estate specialists said market forces rather than fear were driving auction activity.

Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said auctions had increased in Sydney and Melbourne in recent years because of their housing booms. “Auctions only really do well if you have a large number of buyers,” she said. With housing slowing down, auctions are tipped to drop off. Perth’s weak property market had very few auctions, Ms Conisbee said.

“I’m not surprised that young people don’t like them — they’re very intimidating,” she said. Rich Harvey, president of the Real Estate Buyer’s Agents Association of Australia, said many people of all ages did not like auctions because “it’s a pressure cooker environment and emotions are running high”.

“There’s an auctioneer yelling at people to put in their highest and best bids otherwise they will miss out — it’s a very unnatural environment,” he said. “I think a lot of Generation Ys would like to do online auctions and press a button every time they want to bid, but that’s not how it works.

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“Some buyers avoid going to properties that are sold by auction so they are going to miss out on opportunities.” Mr Harvey said people could fight their fear of auctions by employing a professional buyer’s agent or attending lots of auctions to learn how to avoid mistakes.

“A lot of people make really bad mistakes — they don’t know how to bid and they bid against themselves,” he said. Mr Harvey said auction trends had increased in the past five years with more suburbs hosting them. “It’s a fact of life that they will continue,” he said.

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