Video tours of vacant properties mean it's business as usual for Auction House

Property Reporter
15th April 2020
Auction 99

Auctioneer, Auction House, has revealed that it is continuing to sell properties during the current crisis and lockdown - at a time when many other property professionals have put business on hold.

According to the group, it has sold more than 150 lots during the first two weeks of the restrictions coming into place by transferring its usual room auction lots to its online operation.

Roger Lake, Auction House Founding Director, explains: “We’ve been thrilled with how successfully our tried and trusted system of selling online has clicked into place. Auctions have either been held ‘eBay-style’ on the web or via a live-stream with bids coming in on the telephone, online or by proxy.

“Andrew Binstock at Auction House London put in a marathon performance of five-and-a-half hours, which included the sale of a high-value property in Tottenham divided into six 2-bed apartments, which sold bang on its guide price of £1.4m. Inspired by his success, our auctioneer in Cumbria and the North East, Colin West, is holding another live-stream sale on Thursday this week (16 April) and on Tuesday the following week (21 April).

“Crucially, many lots are selling for far more than their guide prices too. Ten bidders pushed a three-bedroom terraced house in London guided at £375,000 up to £553,000; 86 competing bids meant that a vacant social club in Manchester surged from its guide price of £90,000 to a sold price of £211,000, and only last week eight bidders fighting over a derelict cottage in Dorset guided at between £60,000 and £80,000 resulted in a final sale price of £203,000!”

Roger says that the fact that auction entries include a high proportion of empty properties and land has enabled the group to market available lots almost as intensively as before.

He says: “Whilst, of course, we can’t offer viewings in the normal way, we can record guided video tours of vacant properties, and even tours streamed live on Facebook, with buyers’ questions being answered in real-time.”

The success of online sales comes at the end of a busy March, which saw Auction House offer 318 lots in total, selling 225 of these at a success rate of 70.8%, with more than £27 million raised in the month (£27,095,818). First Quarter figures are looking strong too – and are the second-highest ever recorded by the group, with 947 lots offered and 732 lots sold, at an average success rate of 77.3% and collective sales of over £89 million (£89,041,190).

Roger adds: “Auction House was absolutely flying up until the restrictions hit, and the appetite for selling by auction had certainly strengthened. But even in this more challenging trading environment, we are still very much open for business. We are continuing to take new auction entries, marketing them and hammering lots down, with an immediate exchange of contracts.

“In fact, the number of entries for April sits at an impressive total of more than 400 already. And whilst this is around a 30% drop compared to last year, it’s still well above the 70% fall in private treaty instructions that Zoopla are currently reporting. All in all, despite the restrictions, we’re delighted to be delivering sales for our sellers – especially those who urgently need to sell - and enabling auction buyers to purchase, with online bid numbers on popular lots at a similar level to our auction room experiences.

“So my message to agents, asset managers, receivers, the probate sector and others who have properties that need to be sold before sanctions are lifted: call us. We have the capability and capacity to make it happen.”

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