COVID-19 lockdowns have played havoc on the state's real-estate industry, but one agent on the Far South Coast has found a clever workaround to the ban on in-person auctions.
Christine Ewin's My Agent is now running "virtual auctions" online to allow both buyers and sellers to continue to participate in the real estate market.
Ms Ewin's agency ran three online auctions two weekends ago, the first of their kind on the Far South Coast, and has plans to run another this Saturday.
"Out first set of auctions was on September 4, and all three properties sold," Ms Ewin said.
"A lot of properties are now seeing postponed auctions, or having their listings pulled down and re-advertised with a set price on them.
"I was halfway through three campaigns, we weren't able to do any open inspections, and we couldn't have an in-person auction, so I had to come up with something different.
"I downloaded software, got an auctioneer from Canberra, did a rehearsal with our staff, and pulled off the three auctions on about 14 days notice.
"It's been bloody hard work, but these are exciting times, and we believe this is the new way.
"We can't continue to be at the mercy of the market and COVID, so we had to pivot - we're adopting a hybrid model moving forward so when we come out of COVID the auctioneer can take both live bids at the property and have a laptop next to them to take online bids."
Ms Ewin said the auctions were available for anyone to watch, but you needed to be registered with the agency to put in a bid.
"You register, put your deposit in the trust account, and then tick all the boxes so I can verify you," she said.
"That way I know every potential bidder is the real deal.
"They're very exciting to watch, every time a bid comes in you'll hear a little ding, and it'll say something like 'bidder one from Wellington' or 'bidder two from Canberra'. It's really cool."
Ms Ewin said she'd received positive feedback from both buyers and sellers on the new auction format.
"The vendor's feedback is they love it because they don't have to see their neighbours in their front yard," she said with a laugh.
"The buyers love it because they're anonymous, they love the facelessness of it.
"The buyer who won one of our auctions a fortnight ago had it up on the big screen, and was celebrating throughout the process with his kids like he was watching a football match.
"A lot of the buyers also said it was less nerve-wracking because they know exactly how many bidders they're up against. They love the transparency."
In My Agent's first three online auctions, a property on Barton Parade, Tomakin, sold for $697,500, a property on Ainslie Parade, Tomakin, sold for $826,000, and a property on Grant Street, Broulee, sold for $1,416,000.
Another property on Peter Crescent, Batehaven, will go under the hammer this Saturday at 2pm, and the auction is available for watching on My Agent's website.