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Young Auctioneer's Success

17 September 2004

Just When Young Auctioneer Thought‘It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This’…It Did!

A week ago, Paraparaumu’s Stephen Johnson was standing among his peers in Christchurch telling himself, “it doesn’t get any better than this.” But it just did!

The 21-year-old, with only 18 months of property auctioneering behind him, had demonstrated skill and maturity well beyond his years to scoop the ‘Auctioneer with the Most Potential’ trophy at the 2004 New Zealand Auctioneering Championships in Christchurch.

Stephen, from Harveys Paraparaumu, added the prize to his ‘Harveys Auctioneer of the Year’ title by competing against 14 of the top auctioneers from across the country - most of whom started auctioneering well before he was born. Despite being aware of the expertise and experience he was up against, Stephen delivered a commanding performance worthy of the coveted trophy, which is handed out bi-annually by the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand.

But he quickly put that new found fame to good effect back home when 37 sections at the Kotuku Park development along the boundary of the Waikanae Estuary were put under the hammer by Stephen in one night.
The result - all 37 lots were sold by the emerging auctioneering talent, realising $4.8 million at an average of around $130,000, which was well over expectation.

And was Stephen delighted with that effort? Was he ever. “It’s been a fantastic few days, and something I’ll never forget,” he says.
He describes the REINZ auction as “an amazing experience. I was extremely nervous - some of the competitors had been calling auctions more than 30 years - but I just concentrated on keeping my composure and everything else fell into place.”

The judges made their selection from criteria that included assertion, salesmanship, encouragement of bidders, personality, and individuality.
According to competition Chief Judge Ross Foreman from Auckland, the panel were most impressed by Stephen’s uncomplicated approach to the job. “He demonstrated a great deal of confidence for a young auctioneer,” says Mr Foreman. “Stephen holds himself well with great presence and manner, and after only one major competition, stands out as very competent. I have no doubt he will go a long way.”

Stephen became interested in the real estate industry while still at college, when his father sold a property through the Harveys Paraparaumu branch. After graduating from Wellington College, he gained an apprenticeship as the personal assistant for the Harveys Managing Directors, and from there moved quickly into real estate sales.

After just three years in the industry and well over 100 auctions to his name, Stephen is enjoying the exhilaration of selling homes under the hammer. “I just love the feeling of satisfaction you get from hosting a successful auction,” he says.

“The greatest experience I have had so far was seeing the look on a vendor’s face when we achieved $100,000 over the reserve price.”
Stephen now has his sights set on further success, already planning for the next Harveys Auctioneers’ Championships and the 2006 REINZ National Auction Competition. After that, he even intends to go on and compete overseas at the highest level. “My overall goal is to represent New Zealand at the Australasian Auctioneering Championships,” he says.


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