Auc­tion rooms pull in crowds

The Jewish Chronicle - - CLASSIFIED -

IT IS more and more dif­fi­cult to find a seat at Lon­don’s prop­erty auc­tions. Sale­rooms are crowded and buy­ers have to hunt harder for bar­gains. For vendors, the ad­van­tages of a quick re­sult are mak­ing prop­erty auc­tion­eers much more at­trac­tive lunchtime com­pan­ions.

Bar­nett Ross’s Fe­bru­ary auc­tion saw re­mark­able levels of bid­ding, with only one lot un­sold — a 98 per cent suc­cess rate. No­table sales in­clude a ground-floor shop and flat in Slough pro­duc­ing 13,900 a year, which went for £490,000 against a re­serve of less than £160,000 — a yield of 2.8 per cent a year. Mean­while, a 3,360 sq ft flat in Hamp­stead, north west Lon­don went for £3.38 mil­lion.

It was a sur­prise to many in the prop­erty mar­ket when es­tate agent Coun­try­wide with­drew from Lon­don auc­tions. Auc­tion House Lon­don picked up the work to sell all fu­ture auc­tion prop­er­ties listed by Coun­try­wide in the cap­i­tal. Lots due to have been sold at Coun­try­wide’s Lon­don auc­tion on Fe­bru­ary 14 went un­der the ham­mer of Auc­tion House Lon­don on Fe­bru­ary 22.

An en­tire build­ing in Cam­den, north west Lon­don, was guided at just £165,000 and sold for £180,000. Auc­tion House Lon­don’s An­drew Bin­stock says: “The price sounds too good to be true. But this is a highly unusual lot — a res­i­den­tial house on a com­mer­cial lease, with un­der 15 years of the lease left. The prop­erty is cur­rently let as four rooms, pro­duc­ing a rent of £37,140 a year. So it’s a gam­ble, but one which could re­ally pay off for the new owner.” St John’s Wood lot, sold for £3.25 mil­lion and Cam­den “gam­ble” sold for £180,000, both by Auc­tion House Lon­don

Mean­while, 14 Welling­ton Road, St John’s Wood, north west Lon­don was guided at £3 mil­lion-plus and Auc­tion House Lon­don sold it for £3.25 mil­lion.

Mil­lion-pound-plus lots also made a strong show­ing at Acui­tus’s first auc­tion of 2017. It saw £35 mil­lion-worth of as­sets sold, with the keen­est in­ter­est in prop­er­ties pro­duc­ing long-term in­come or those in Lon­don. Av­er­age lot sale price was around £970,000, with nearly a third of prop­er­ties selling for more than £1 mil­lion. Richard Auterac,

Acui­tus auc­tion­eer, says: “The out­look is pos­i­tive for our sec­ond sale of the year on March 30 and it is ev­i­dent own­ers have been en­cour­aged to sub­mit lots by the mount­ing ev­i­dence that the prop­erty mar­ket thrives, de­spite the ex­ter­nal un­cer­tain­ties. Real es­tate re­mains one of the best stores of value and buy­ing and selling in the auc­tion room is an ex­cel­lent and im­me­di­ate op­por­tu­nity to ex­e­cute in­vest­ment re­quire­ments.”

An­drews & Robert­son raised £28.7 mil­lion in its first auc­tion of the year; nearly dou­ble that of its first auc­tion of 2016, with 80 per cent of prop­er­ties sold and an av­er­age lot size of £455,355.

The largest lot sold un­der the ham­mer was a free­hold three-floor de­tached house in Bal­ham, south west Lon­don, ar­ranged as nine let­ting rooms. Guided at £1.5 mil­lion, it at­tracted much in­ter­est in the room and sold for £1.66 mil­lion. Robin Cripp, chair­man of An­drews & Robert­son, says: “The eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal tur­bu­lence of 2016 un­doubt­edly had an

im­pact on the auc­tion mar­ket... It is en­cour­ag­ing to see a re­turn of con­fi­dence, with a busy sale room, plenty of buy­ers ea­ger to se­cure in­vest­ment and devel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties and bid­ding push­ing prices well above guides. We are de­lighted to start the auc­tion year on such a pos­i­tive note and hope th­ese re­sults con­tinue.”

All­sop’s res­i­den­tial auc­tion team got off to a strong start with its Fe­bru­ary sale. It raised £64 mil­lion on the day, with a suc­cess rate of 80 per cent. The 281-lot cat­a­logue had an av­er­age lot size of £330,000.

Large crowds de­scended on the sale­room at the Cum­ber­land Ho­tel and auc­tion­eer Gary Mur­phy had to call for bid­ders to come to the front of the hall to make room for those who could not get through the rear doors. He says: “There were far more new faces than in re­cent sales. Many were there for one lot only and were ob­vi­ously new to the auc­tion method. It seems the mar­ket, for auc­tion stock at least, has over­come the jit­ters ev­i­dent in the lat­ter half of last year. The stamp-duty in­creases that have hit buy­ers of in­vest­ments and sec­ond homes have be­come an ac­cepted, if un­wel­come, cost. Life goes on.”

All­sop also raised £57.7 mil­lion at its first com­mer­cial auc­tion of the year, on Fe­bru­ary 7 (suc­cess rate 82 per cent, ex­pected to rise). In­vestor de­mand for mixed-use as­sets in Lon­don and the South East was as strong as ever. The sale started with two free­hold shops with maisonettes close to Gants Hill tube sta­tion, Es­sex; both sold below 4.8 per cent net, at £472,500 and £453,000.

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