In March the highest number of lots was put under the hammer since 2008 (3,263 lots). A decade ago the economy was in the midst of a credit crunch and the auction market saw increasing numbers of repossessions and motivated vendors but fewer buyers; indeed, the average sale rate was a lowly 62% compared to the far more sustainable 74% we see today.
The recent gains have also had a positive impact on the quarterly and yearly results. Over 500 more lots were offered in Q1 2018 than in Q1 2017 – a gain of 7.2%, whilst the rolling yearly figures show a 1.2% increase over the last 12 months to 33,495 lots.
The residential sector has certainly been the main contributor to these gains. Residential lots offered and sold were both up over 12% in March, to 2,511 lots and 1,847 lots respectively, whilst residential receipts jumped almost 15% to £301m. This is the highest number of residential sales ever recorded in March, surpassing the previous high of 1,846 lots sold in March 2007.
All the major London commercial auctioneers held an auction during March, so it is pleasing to see volumes up on last year – lots offered by 6.7% to 577 lots and lots sold by 4.3% to 436 lots. The amount raised did contract slightly though; down 17% to £116m, suggesting an increase of smaller-sized lots going under the hammer.
Allsop held a major residential & commercial property auction on 22nd March, achieving a 73% success with an attractive office/residential freehold in Windmill Street, London W1 being the biggest sale of the day. The property was let to a number of tenants and was producing £92,609 p.a. rent with vacant second floor offices. It sold for £3.5m, reflecting a gross yield of 2.64%.
John Townsend of auctioneer Harold Benjamin, commenting in the Estates Gazette, interestingly noted in Allsop’s auction a property he had sold when an auctioneer at Cushman Wakefield back in 2007. The property in Trowbridge, Wiltshire is let to Barclays Bank until 2027 at a rent of £18,500 p.a. with a break in 2022. On a guide of £285,000, it sold for £335,000, a gross yield of 5.5%. Back in 2007, John sold the very same property with exactly the same lease terms and rent for £426,000.
On 28th March, Acuitus held an auction and sold lots totalling £31.3m, achieving a success rate of 77%. One of the largest lots was in Haverhill, Suffolk and sold to an internet buyer. It was a freehold retail investment and let to Iceland at £115,000 p.a. until 2028 with no break clause and reviews in 2018 & 2023. It sold for £1.87m, following a guide of £1.75m to £1.8m, reflecting a gross yield of 6.1%.