Bidders sold on online auctions

Posted on 30 Sep, 2020

Buyers continue to make offers on property lots but increasingly from the comfort of their own house, not the auction house.

Although the property market never fully closed during the first months of lockdown, property professionals had to quickly change tack. Auction houses needed to adapt fast. In the past, rooms would be bustling with buyers and in-person bids - now the buzz has transferred to digital platforms.

The transfer online has been hailed as a great success. An example in case is Bond Wolfe’s September sale - heralded as the ‘largest-ever’ live-streamed auction to be held in the UK, creating a milestone that made headlines in the regional and trade press.

Many lots can be browsed ahead of the auction, thanks to virtual tours – an improvement for those buying from afar. Bidders have also comfortably swapped to making offers by phone, proxy and the internet as they remain keen to capitalize on auction discounts – and what savings there are!

In fact, new research from Octagon Capital found that houses bought at auction in 2020 are 40% cheaper than the average cost of a home. To illustrate, the average house at auction sells for £138,240, compared to £231,885 achieved via other methods of sale.

As well as potential-packed lots that sell for temptingly low prices, buyers are buoyed by the current stamp duty saving. Even before the Chancellor’s move, East Anglia auction house Cheffins enjoyed 100% sales success in its first post-lockdown auction held in July. Looking ahead to its September event, the auction house expected to welcome an increased number of buyers - both investors and owner-occupiers – keen to secure a home with no stamp duty, or at least a dramatically reduced bill.

Also seeing significant buyer interest is auction house Clive Emson. Its July auction was watched online at different times by more than 30,000 people and the number of lots in its catalogues is rising at each event. The company’s managing director, James Emson, expects investor numbers to increase moving forwards, especially as returns on bank and building society savings can almost be measured in pence and not pounds.

Property investors are also motivated by a change to planning rules that now allows retail and commercial premises to be converted for residential use without full planning permission. Recent lots at a Clive Emson auction in the South West included a charity shop and a dog grooming parlour – both with scope to be turned into residential properties for occupation or rent.

If you intend to pursue a property purchase at auction, there is no need to go in ‘buying blind’. Viewber can provide an unbiased property report, virtual tour, photo suite and video of any property for sale in the UK. Access can be arranged via an auction house, so please get in touch.

If you’re an Auction House you’ll probably know Viewber already. We can help service any lot, wherever it is, photos for the catalogue, open houses – livestream if necessary, 360 tours and more.


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