96 on Symonds.

Random numbers aren’t proper at auctions, are they?

When you see the results of auctions, the sale prices almost invariably end with 3 zeroes. Imagine, then, a bid of a seemingly random number which even the bidder looked like having trouble remembering. And raises of just $4, followed by one of $112.

This unusual auction played out at City Sales yesterday on the fifth of 6 apartments on the auction list, the second unit in the 96 on Symonds building (pictured above) to be offered on the day.

Bidders had struggled from an opening price of $195,000 for the 2-bedroom unit to $220,000, when auctioneer Kim Spark declared it was on the market. A woman, who’d been pushing a pram back & forth before holding her young child in her arms, offered a small raise which Mr Spark didn’t want to accept.

And so began the series of unusual bids, starting with an increase from $220,000 to $222,379. Sales agent Tina Bartlett, with a buyer on the phone, countered by doing the normal rounded bid to $223,000. Back came the woman with the child, offering $223,157, which Ms Bartlett raised to $223,161.

Occasionally there were what you might call regular bids, zeroed off.

Mr Spark maintained his cool and did better than many auctioneers at rattling off odd numbers, but the room wasn’t cool. Bidders don’t pick numbers out of thin air. Ms Bartlett was clearly frustrated.

An auction can take a long time by rising in $1000 or $500 steps and nobody will be too concerned. But odd numbers? Not the same.

I enjoyed the moment for the exercise in tactics, and because somebody dared to step outside convention. That convention has a reserve price set but not disclosed – and possibly reset if all is not going well – and it doesn’t really matter what the bids are up to that point so long as the auctioneer sees progress, although auctioneers generally try to keep proceedings under control with large-figure steps at first.

The other part of the convention is that, although raises may be very small once a property is declared on the market, mostly they’re rounded. And, mostly, that seems to be for the benefit of the auctioneer, even though they normally have somebody alongside writing the bids down.

The unusual bidding on this apartment took the price up just $20,000 before the woman with the child dropped out. The phone bidder had persevered and won. There was a sense of relief around the room, frazzled onlookers could relax. The woman who came second headed for the lift, having got her child to sleep while upsetting everybody else’s equilibrium.

The other unit at 96 on Symonds on the auction list was passed in, 2 of the other 4 units on the list were sold under the hammer and a Shed 23 apartment on Princes Wharf was sold shortly after the auction.


Learning Quarter

96 on Symonds, 96 Symonds St, unit 406:
Features: 41m², 2 bedrooms, deck
Outgoings: rates $1189/year including gst; body corp levy $4030/year
Income assessment: in management agreement, currently $480/week
Outcome: sold for $240,000
Agents: Tina Bartlett

96 on Symonds, 96 Symonds St, unit 708:
Features: 45m², 2 bedrooms, deck, storage locker, parking space
Outgoings: rates $1341/year including gst; body corp levy $5385/year
Outcome: passed in at $425,000
Agents: Iona Rodrigues

Oakwood, 81 Wakefield St, unit 6B:
Features: 29m², fully furnished studio, deck
Outgoings: rates $999/year including gst; body corp levy $4080/year
Income assessment: $400/week current
Outcome: sold for $275,000
Agents: Steve Kirk & Habeeb Urrahman


Princes Wharf, 145 Quay St, shed 23, unit 65:
Features: leasehold, 108m², 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, deck, parking space under long-term carpark licence
Outgoings: rates $2545/year including gst; body corp opex levy $16,942/year including gst, ground rent $25,241/year including gst
Outcome: passed in after sole vendor bid of $250,000, sold post-auction for an undisclosed price
Agents: Tina Bartlett & Tricia Carlson

Isthmus west

Eden Terrace

Fleetwood, 19-35 Fleet St, unit C6:
Features: 86m², 2 bedrooms, 17m² deck, parking space; new code compliance certificate issued in 2016
Outgoings: rates $1549/year including gst; body corp levy $3689/year
Income assessment: $620-680/week
Outcome: passed in at $530,000
Agents: Tina Bartlett

Grey Lynn

One on Ophir, 1 Ophir St, unit 3B:
Features: 65m², 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, deck, parking space
Outgoings: rates $1524/year including gst; body corp levy $4520/year
Income assessment: appraisal $650/week
Outcome: sold for $600,000
Agents: Anna Birkenhead

Attribution: Auction.

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One Response to Random numbers aren’t proper at auctions, are they?

  1. John Pilkington Friday 3 March 2017 at 8.36am #

    Ha ha, that’s funny about the random numbers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with throwing numbers like that. It happens on TradeMe all the time – all part of a strategy. A live auction in an auction room is a game too – frustrating the opponent could be just one tool against their bidding. A good auctioneer will take it in his stride, and maybe even overturn the tables on such bid, but it’s all legit and we should never ban thinking out of the box 😉

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