Latest News

What's the best time of day to auction?

29 March 2017

By Leon Axford, Director of Axford Auctions

There is one question we are asked every time by our clients who want to book an auction, “what is the best time of day to auction the property?”.

We always held the opinion that early in the morning or late in the afternoon were the best times.

Our theory was set around selling in isolation, just like selling in February or the Winter months is optimum because the supply of property is low yet demand remains strong.

However, the only way to test this theory is with hard facts that cannot be debated and so we have collated our data from the past three years and over 1,000 auctions.

These are our results up to mid-March 2017:

Time vs clearance
Three-year average 
 71%  72%  93%  74%
 71%  73%  70%  72%
 66%  71%  61%  68%
 85%  62%  60%  72%
 4.00pm onwards
 59%  65%  100%  66%

 The results show that 9.00am-10.30am has the strongest clearance with 74%, showing that the early bird gets the worm, whilst the middle of the day has the lowest clearance of 68%.

So why is morning the strongest? We feel there are two reasons.

1. The first relates to supply and demand. A total of 55% of our auctions take place from 10.45am to 2.30pm when most open homes and auctions take place. Only one fifth of our auctions are conducted in the 9.00am to 10.30am slots.

The theory of selling in isolation is about limiting choice and by selling at 9.00am you are the first auction of the day when there is typically no competition.

It also delivers the competitive advantage that you have the pick of the buyers. For example, I recently had a 9.00am and 11.30am auction in similar areas with similarly priced properties.

The buyer at the 9.00am property was also very interested in the second property, however the 9.00am owner capitalised by having all the buyers at their auction without fear they would buy later on in the day.

2. The second reason is purely due to biology and psychology. Energy levels are at their best in the morning when the body is at its most alert and focussed.

When we feel our best positivity flows through and I find buyers at these auctions have their strategy in place and don’t hesitate in competitive bidding.

This is where the psychology comes in. The difference between the morning and afternoon auctions can be the time it gives buyers to think and doubt.

It doesn’t mean that all auctions in the afternoon are doomed. The clearance rate from auctions held at 2.30-4.00pm are still an impressive 72%.

We have seen over the past three years an increasing trend in auctions from 4.00pm up to 6.30pm in daylight savings months.

However around this time the focus for buyers starts to diminish, with desperation becoming a key factor.

If a buyer has missed out on several properties throughout the day, emotion begins to play a key role.

They think “if we don’t buy this one, how much will the next one go for?”, and a buyer who was 50/50 now sees it as a priority because there is minimal choice.

Facts and figures aside, you can have the best time of day and the best market to sell in, but if all the work in the lead up isn’t done from marketing to working with buyers and the seller then the result won’t be the very best.

It’s the collaboration of a four-week campaign and an agent/auctioneer duo that know how to get the best result.