Auction rooms pull in crowds
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.