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Allsop Residential Auctions defied all the odds in 2017

Allsop Residential Auctions has taken a look back on a successful 2017 for the firm, when it raised a total of £424 million and achieved a success rate of 79%.

The residential market took a few blows last year, including deepening unaffordability, a General Election, strained Brexit negotiations and significant political uncertainty. Compounded with the 3% stamp duty surcharge and tougher lending criteria for BTL investors, 2017 could certainly be viewed as a challenging one.

Despite this, Allsop’s residential team achieved a total only £7 million lower than 2016 and raised a total of £1,034 billion across the UK commercial and residential sectors with an overall success rate of 82%.

Quite a bit of activity was recorded in 2017, with 1,222 residential lots sold in total at an average value of £348,000 compared to £356,000 in 2016. High value lots remained popular in the auction room with 99 sales in excess of £1 million.

What’s more, the political upheaval in April surrounding the announcement of a snap General Election did not disrupt May’s auction, which raised a total of £74 million and achieved a success rate of 86% – the most successful of the year. Following June’s General Election, though, Allsop raised a total of £52 million and achieved a success rate of 76% – one of the lowest of the year.

September was an uplifting month, with £71 million raised and a success rate of 80% – £12 million higher compared to 2016 and topping all September residential sales figures on record. A property in St Ives captured the attention of the public and investors in this auction, selling for £1.44 million from a guide price of £625,000+.

“Investors in 2017 remained active and cautiously optimistic in the auction room,” said Gary Murphy, partner and auctioneer. “As a result, we raised a similar total to 2016, proving that appetite exists for the right stock, sensitively priced.”

Interest in the Allsop online catalogue was substantial from overseas. More than one million visits were recorded from 194 territories globally, with new visitors making up 48%. This was in line with the UK’s decision to leave the EU and the inevitable weakening of the pound.

Furthermore, 9% of assets offered in the residential auction room in 2017 were commercial, up from 7% in 2016. The total raised from commercial lots offered, however, was down from £56.5 million to £37 million as supply of high value commercial lots – which were most often vacant offices with the opportunity to convert to residential – has become scarcer.

The number of mixed-use lots sold rose last year from 11% in 2016 to 12% in 2017. Despite this, the total value raised fell from £93.5 million to £87 million in 2017.

Some 59% of assets offered came from London and the South East, compared to 60% in 2016. The average price of a single vacant unit in 2017 was £346,000, down from £352,000 in 2016.

Greater London was the only region to show a fall in prices, which dropped from £622,000 to £561,000 in 2017. Prices in Manchester rose by 7.7% and in Birmingham by 7.3%. This data is consistent with the auction room, where the average price achieved for lots rose in every region outside of the M25 except Scotland.

Murphy continued: “This year BTL investors face further hurdles with the tapering of tax relief and tougher lending criteria applied to portfolios of four or more properties.”

“We may see the smaller investor look to disinvest, whilst others will adjust their portfolios and seek value in the regions,” he said. “Prices will continue their correction, particularly in London and the South East, where they are likely to remain static.”

 “2018 will not be without its challengers but there will be opportunities,” Murphy added.

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