Apollo’s Luke Banitsiotis wins Australasian auction champs

Profile headshot of Apollo Auctions

22 May, 2024

By Apollo Auctions

Apollo Auctions’ Luke Banitsiotis has won the 2024 Australasian Auctioneering Championships (AUSTROS) held in Hobart last Thursday last week.

Luke, based in Melbourne, has dedicated eight of the past 10 years of his auction career to achieve the career pinnacle, including being a finalist in the prestigious competition three previous times.

“It’s everything I’ve worked for. It’s the challenge of coming back over and over again after all the disappointments and just picking yourself back up to do it again,” Luke says.
“This is the pinnacle of my career. This is everything that I’ve ever worked for and trained for. It’s really hard to put into words what winning this means to me right now.”
Conducted jointly by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) and the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (REINZ), the championships have become the most highly regarded event on the Australasian auctioneering calendar.

The morning after his win, Luke says he walked away from the final knowing he had given it everything he had and decided that if he wasn’t victorious after his performance then he would take some time out from competing.

“But I actually felt a really warm energy coming from the crowd when it was all done. The applause from the audience at the end was probably the strongest I’ve ever felt, so, that gave me some confidence. You never know, but you can sort of feel it from the energy from the crowd,” Luke recalls.

With an impressive track record, Luke’s auction expertise has been recognised by the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV), where he has earned the prestigious title of REIV Master Auctioneer – a distinction held by only a select few in the state. Luke also has four REIV awards under his belt.

Winning the 2024 AUSTROS, though, is the highlight of his career, he says, with his years of auction competition training and performances finally resulting in him being named the top auctioneer in Australia and New Zealand.
“I definitely caught the auction comp bug years ago – that was number one, plus it was always the challenge of winning such a highly-regarded trophy because there are only a few names on it,” Luke says.

“I would constantly be practising different arithmetic and creating fictitious scenarios that may or may not happen just so that if you train them, when they do happen, well, you’ve already dealt with it in training, so you’ve got an idea of how you’ll handle it.

“I’d only take one week off from training every year – the week after the Australasians and then we’d go again. Whereas this year, I’m done. I always said it was one and done for me.”

Apollo Auctions Director – and three-time AUSTROS winner Justin Nickerson – says the Apollo team was now the most credentialled auction agency in Australasia.

“Luke’s achievement is not only testament to his diligent training but also to his decade-long commitment to the auction craft,” he says.

“I am proud to say that our Apollo Auctions team now boasts the number one auctioneer in Australia, the number one auctioneer in New Zealand in Robert Tulp, and more than 20 state-based auction comp wins.”
Luke believes there is no better training ground for auctioneers than competitions, because it puts your auction skills under the microscope, which ultimately makes you a better practitioner of the craft.

“It all starts at the state level – in the novice competition, if you’re fresh to the industry,” he says.
“There is no better place than auction comps – remembering they’re not like a real auction, but they’re not meant to be. It’s fictitious. It’s contrived and it’s there to test you.

“It’s there to put you out of your comfort zone and make you do things or think about things you normally wouldn’t think of so that when you go back to the street, you’re a better auctioneer. There’s no better way develop your auction craft in my opinion.”

And while Luke says he will hang up his auction comp performances from now on, this Saturday he will be back out calling auctions across Melbourne – while still coming to terms with what he has achieved.
“It’s back to reality for me on Saturday but I’ll probably sit and stare at the cup at bit more today and maybe shed a tear or two,” he says.

Article written by Nicola McDougall, Bricks and Mortar Media.