Auctions

Pandemic will have long lasting effects on auction rooms

Property Reporter
|
13th May 2021
auction

Property auctioneer, Auction House, says that the face of auction property sales has been changed forever, regardless of what happens to the easing of lockdown restrictions in the coming weeks.

The group’s new Managing Director, Jeremy Prior, says that the Covid epidemic forced a rapid change in the industry, with some of the new ways of working likely to remain in place forever.

He explained: “Let’s face it, the room-only model of property auctions has been consigned to history. Regardless of the state of the pandemic or the lifting of restrictions in the future, no auctioneer worth their salt will be staging a sale where the only option for buyers will be to turn up in person.

“At the very least, auctions will be hybrid affairs, where room proceedings are also streamed live online. But frankly, it’s an open question as to whether some of our members will decide that because livestream sales have been so successful, there’s simply no benefit being in the room anymore. Even die-hard fans of room auctions are in two minds about whether to go back to the room because the effectiveness of livestream sales has been so phenomenal!”

His comments came as the firm celebrated its 1,000th sale this year – a three-bedroom terraced house in Bere Alston, Devon, which was guided at £138,000 but which sold for £155,000, after some fierce bidding in the Devon & Cornwall auction on 29 April.

Jeremy adds: “What’s incredible is that despite lockdown, and despite all the restrictions we’ve been under, Auction House has continued to sell more properties than any other UK auctioneer. And of course, this figure has been achieved almost exclusively for our private sellers - because we have been without our usual stock of repossessions from corporate clients, while the courts have been closed during the pandemic.

“This surge in activity means that we are expanding our digital team. We’ve already hired a digital content creator and a new digital marketing assistant and digital events technician will be on board soon.

“Even though we were used to carrying out livestream auctions in the past, they had previously been combined with room sales. In fact, when the first lockdown came into place last year, the pandemic forced us to make around eight years of technical advances in as little as eight weeks. The way that the scheduled dates fell, the team at Auction House London were the first to hold a livestream-only sale on March 25th last year – just two days after the lockdown was imposed. And they’ve never looked back!

“But it’s not just the industry that’s had to change. Our customers have had to adapt too – and once again, technology has come to the rescue. Virtual tours have enabled many to purchase without even going inside the properties they are buying.

He concludes: “So, I’m incredibly proud of our teams around the country for the flexible way in which they have coped during the Covid crisis. The whole sector is unrecognisable from what it was like a year and a half ago. And now that those changes have had time to bed-in, I can confidently predict that many of them will be with us forever.”

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