The Jewish Chronicle

Auctions resilient in changing market


While the property market has proved it is not immune from the wider political and economic environmen­t, it is still demonstrat­ing its resilience and the auctions sector over the past 12 months has shown there are still opportunit­ies for investors taking a long-term view on their property portfolios.

Hesitancy and nervousnes­s in the market has led to some interestin­g auctions across the sector, with busy sale rooms and lots of pre-auction interest but declining in-room success rates. There has been an increase in the number of post-event sales, with buyers having the confidence to not bid on a property, instead waiting to see if they can strike a deal once the sale has ended.

I believe this demonstrat­es there are still plenty of buyers and sellers keen to do business in the UK property market. The interest is there but, as shown in results across the sector, this does not always translate into bidding in the sale room.

Reduction in demand for residentia­l

properties is something we have witnessed over the past 12 months, along with many fellow auction houses, especially those with a strong London focus.

The squeeze on buy-to-let landlords with a series of new legislatio­n, most notably the three per cent stamp duty penalty on second homes, has resulted in investors shifting their focus to mixed residentia­l/commercial investment­s and commercial investment­s.

At sales across the country, residentia­l/commercial investment­s (which are not subject to the three per cent penalty) and commercial investment­s regularly attract stronger interest than the “typical” residentia­l auction properties. There is evidence to suggest this is more apparent in London and the South East than at regional auctions and it is something we have witnessed at many of our sales.

In addition to the increase in interest for commercial investment­s, land investment­s and ground rents have continued to be popular, as buyers look at different types of investment­s.

As an example, we have sold a series of land investment­s on behalf of advertisin­g agency JCDecaux at our recent auctions. The sites are former billboard locations across the UK — complete with the billboard. They have performed well, attracting strong interest from local buyers keen to develop the sites or keep them as advertisin­g locations for their own business.

Despite all the market uncertaint­ies, we are very much looking forward to the future with confidence and gusto. While the conditions are far from perfect, the UK property market has demonstrat­ed that, over time, it continues to perform well as an asset class and there will be opportunit­ies for those investors who are prepared to diversify. In less-than-perfect market conditions, it is important to have certainty of sale and the confidence that the best price has been achieved for your property, something auctions will always offer.

Philip Waterfield is a director at Strettons

 ??  ?? Freehold commercial/residentia­l property in Chadwell Heath, sold by Strettons for £1.5 million in October 2018
Freehold commercial/residentia­l property in Chadwell Heath, sold by Strettons for £1.5 million in October 2018

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