AFL Grand Final week and why it’s a bad weekend for real estate

Written by in Buying on October 5, 2016

Spring has well and truly arrived, bringing with a renewed sense of hope for our property markets.

Not that our real estate markets are failing, as such. While some capital cities are achieving decidedly less growth than others – we’re looking at you, Perth and Darwin – our recent star performers of Sydney and Melbourne are still trending up.

But those trends could come crashing down, if AFL Grand Final weekend results are factored into the equation.

Grand Final weekend is one of Australia’s most celebrated sporting events. It’s up there with the Melbourne Cup as being a day where most people unite to spend time with friends, families, even co-workers to relax and watch The Big Game (particularly in Melbourne).

It’s a weekend that many people spend preparing food, arranging catering and getting ready to entertain. It is not, therefore, a day you usually associate with real estate.

So why on earth would you choose to hold an auction to sell your property – your dream home, your investment, your ticket to financial freedom – on Grand Final weekend?

Spring’s no-go zone for property sales

Spring is undeniably a hot time for real estate.

But not all weekends are created equal, and when you’re in the market to sell, AFL Grand Final weekend should be avoided when choosing a date to schedule your auction.

There is a reason why it is usually the lowest week for auctions for the whole year – and this is because people are otherwise occupied.

If your auction is inconvenient for potential buyers to attend, then you are potentially reducing demand. Instead of a gathering of 30-40 potential bidders, your auctioneer could be crowing to a crowd of 5.

Even if poor timing only dissuades casual ‘window shoppers’ from attending your property’s auction, it’s the perception of buyer demand that could hurt you. After all, the one or two serious bidders in the crowd will feel much more comfortable with a low bidding strategy if only a handful of competitors show up.

Industry data confirms that few vendors choose to schedule their auctions over this prime sporting weekend. CoreLogic reported “far fewer auctions scheduled across the capital cities, with the NRL and AFL grand finals both scheduled to take place, as well as a number of long weekends”.

The sharpest reduction in auction volumes was tracked in – you guessed it – Melbourne, where the number of auctions scheduled dropped more than 90%, down from 1,103 auctions last week to just 74 during Grand Final week*.

Grand Final weekend: The ideal time to buy?

There is a flip side of this coin, of course, and that is the opportunity for buyers to secure a great deal during AFL Grand Final weekend.

If you’re in the market to purchase your next home or investment property, then preparing to hit the pavement in earnest over this weekend may help you to secure a great deal at auction (or pre-auction), as there is less competition around.

This is not to say that Grand Final weekend will always result in flatter sales for vendors or bigger bargains for buyers. As with all trends, there are exceptions to the rule. But it can’t hurt to plan your property selling strategy around major sports events, can it?

You could kick off your selling campaign the weekend of the Grand Final. You can even schedule your open homes during this period, though a strategic twilight viewing on Thursday evening preceding the weekend may draw larger numbers.

However, just as you’d avoid scheduling a property auction event for Christmas Eve, Easter or New Year’s Day, you may be best off planning a different auction date than late September.

Keep in mind that reduced demand may translate to a reduced selling price – so why take the risk?

Fear that your house is ‘unsellable’? These 5 Questions may help you work out why it’s been languishing on the market for months.

Source: *CoreLogic’s Auction Market Preview – released 29 September 2016