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Surge in buyer demand as lockdown eased, says Auction House

Auction House says that the easing of lockdown restrictions for the property market on 13 May has generated a significant rise in buyer demand.

The UK’s largest property auctioneer reports a surge in buyers for its sales from the middle of last month, with some online livestream auctions attracting over 1,000 viewers.

Founding Director Roger Lake said: “The impact of releasing the property market from lockdown has been remarkable. Our success rates have risen enormously, bidder numbers are high, and the sales prices achieved are strong and often well ahead of expectation. In fact, when sellers take our advice on pricing, we’re selling nearly everything we’ve got!”

During May, the group offered 202 auction lots, and sold 156 of these, at an impressive success rate of 77.2%. This represents a 14% month-on-month rise in successful sales, with the total value of property sold just shy of £20m (£19,972,154). This improvement continued into June, and last week the group again delivered at 80.2%.

Roger Lake explained: “We’re seeing signs of a demand-led recovery in the auctions sector: a shortage of supply is the only factor holding back a return to normal sale volumes.

“When the restrictions came into place, it was like coming across a 30mph sign on a dual carriageway. But once lockdown was eased, the derestricted sign up ahead came into view and we could get back to full speed once again. Now we need to ensure that there is sufficient petrol in the tank – in other words, enough new entries to satisfy the rush of buyers.

“Of course, this situation represents a big window of opportunity for sellers – now is an ideal time to bring properties to the auctions market.”

Auction House recently sold its 1,000th property this year – a one bed studio flat in Shipley, West Yorkshire, which was guided at £28,000, but sold for £46,750 after 83 bids were placed online, in a bidding war lasting over 30 minutes. This helped the group reach the current figure of selling 1,267 properties across the UK in 2020, with a total value in excess of £145m.

Roger Lake added: “Not surprisingly, the fact that people can now view properties they are interested in buying has stimulated an exceptional interest in auction entries.

“Our livestream sale in East Anglia last week had as many viewers online as we would typically have had in the room and online combined. Our buyers have recognised that our remote biding services via telephone, proxy or the internet - which have become the norm in the current climate - are proven, safe, and secure.

“The market is re-emerging. Indeed, we may have expanded our buyer group through those who saw auctions continuing to take place during the tightest weeks of the lockdown and have come to join us. We’ve now got buyers waiting for all sorts of stock, and we’re hugely confident that any property offered by Auction House and suitably priced will quickly find a buyer.”