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Auction roundup – new platforms, March sales and returning brands

This week’s roundup features Savills Auctions’ new auction platform, Clive Emson’s extensive auction catalogue, a returning brand with SDL Property Auctions and iamsold’s record-breaking run for online sales.

New platform for Savills Auctions powered by Auction Marketer

The Savills Auctions team has selected Auction Marketer to build a new bespoke integrated auction platform.


The year-long upgrade completed during the first half of 2020, replacing and integrating the previous systems with a single back-office into a new website developed and delivered by auction software specialists Auction Marketer.

The project allows Savills Auctions to streamline services, offer online and remote auctions and engagingly present properties.

The project completed in June 2020 – three months after Savills had held its first remote sale. Six months later the team have seen continued success from the live auction-style conducted on the platform.

Critical elements delivered include:

• Operational improvements – auction creation, lotting, solicitor engagement, Rightmove integration, catalogue production

• Providing a bidding platform to allow customers to bid remotely with ease – auction registration, AML/KYC, PEPs, buying with others or as a corporate

• Post-auction processing of fees, deposits and vendor statements

Martin Peterlechner, managing director at Auction Marketer, comments: “Savills Auctions’ vision for the project was ambitious and complex. It required a bespoke solution to deliver the right outcomes for the company and its customers.”

“These projects play to our strengths of being willing and able to listen to a client’s needs and to deliver a tailored a solution to meet them.”

Christopher Coleman Smith, Savills’ head of auctions, adds: “Our team and clients are delighted with the platform and we look forward to using it to grow our business further. Our goal was to help more customers to register and bid online while streamlining our behind-the-scenes processes.”

“Covid-19 has accelerated our plans to grow our online presence. In the last six months, the new auction platform has helped us to meet customer demand and contributed to us raising our average sale price to double that of most of our major competitors together, which exceeded our previous year’s total sale value by almost 40% against a backdrop of a falling residential auctions market.”

Investment opportunities in abundance at Clive Emson’s March sale

Clive Emson has banked 105 lots for its second sale of the year, offering a variety of development sites with residential planning permission across southern England.

One such property is lot 53, a former depot in a semi-rural village near Horley, Surrey, with consent for 10 residential units and guided freehold at £750,000-£800,000.

Another highlight is a large private residence in Kent. Dating back to 1864, the family property in Rochester (lot 90) is guided freehold at £850,000-£860,000.

With planning for five houses, a freehold site on the Isle of Grain, Kent, is guided at £450,000-£460,000 (lot 18) and a town centre freehold site for six flats in Maidstone (lot 51) is guided at £250,000-£260,000.

Near junctions 7 and 8 of the M11 is infill land with consent for two houses near Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire (lot 63), guided at £450,000-plus.

On the historic front, a four-bedroom house in Queenborough, Kent, dating from circa 1730 and built for Admiralty staff (lot 87), is guided freehold at £325,000-plus – ‘England Expects’ Lord Nelson is believed to have stayed there.

Meanwhile, lot 89, two historic barns in Faversham, Kent is guided freehold at £200,000-plus and have full residential planning permission and listed building consent.

Clive Emson raised £17 million in its first auction of the year, with 80% of lots sold. Its upcoming sale on March 24 is expected to garner even more interest.

Managing director James Emson comments: “We had a strong start to the year and look forward to delivering equally good results for customers in our second auction of the year, with a diverse range of properties across southern England.”

He says the Chancellor’s Budget decision to extend the stamp duty holiday has provided another boost to the housing market.

“We thank solicitors, who are exceptionally busy, for preparing legal packs with diligence and accuracy within our timescales – the packs provide vital legal information on which to make a bid,” Emson adds.

“Our auctions give everyone an opportunity to bid – buyers and sellers are increasingly comfortable with the [online] process because of the lockdowns and this was borne out by industry figures for the UK auction market last year, which raised £3.3 billion in 2020, a drop of only 10% compared to 2019.”

Clive Emson received 3,080 requests for legal packs in the first auction, with 11,600 visits to its website on the day and nearly 27,000 visits to the site over the bidding period.

SDL Property Auctions: Record growth and the return of Must be Sold by Auction

Despite supply of homes falling in the wider property market, SDL Property Auctions is reporting record growth as auctions are becoming more mainstream.

Following the launch of its 216-lot March auction catalogue, SDL has seen a 149% increase in lots year-on-year. This is in stark contrast to the national figures released by Rightmove which show a 21% drop in new sellers coming to the market compared to the same period last year. 

Managing director and auctioneer Andrew Parker believes the drastic increase in lots offered is confirmation that auctions are no longer the preserve of landlords and investors.

He says: “The advantages of auctions have become ever more apparent throughout the pandemic, driving private homeowners to sell with us because they know they can do so safely, quickly and within a fixed time frame.”

The speed of auction sales is a huge draw for sellers looking to ensure their buyers benefit from the stamp duty holiday, providing a fixed completion date with almost zero chance of a fall-through.

The nation’s appetite for auctions is being fed through partnerships with estate agents, too. SDL now works with around 1,400 estate agents around the country – a figure boosted by its new three-year partnership with Countrywide (the national agency brand now owned by Connells).

Parker says: “We know auctions can be daunting so work hard to make the experience accessible to everyone. But fear of the unknown can still put some sellers off, so beginning the journey through an estate agent makes the transition easier.”

This growth comes as the Must be Sold brand has been relaunched by parent company Spicerhaart Corporate Sales under its new name, Must be Sold by Auction.

Operating as Must be Sold from 2008 until its closure in 2013, the brand was previously launched as a joint venture with Graham Penny Auctions, now SDL Property Auctions.

Must be Sold by Auction offers a full range of auctions to meet sellers’ circumstances and timescales. Both conditional and unconditional Timed Auctions run on the Must be Sold by Auction website, with online bidding around the clock. 

Properties will be sold in monthly live-streamed National Property Auctions, with auctioneers including Graham Penny on the rostrum and a choice of remote bidding methods. 

Must be Sold by Auction will be headed by David Miller and Neil Knight who have a proven track record of delivering results, looking at new innovations to drive performance and remain at the forefront of the asset management industry. 

“We are excited to be relaunching the business and are pleased to be in a position to offer a fully flexible range of auction sales methods,” says Neil Knight, business development director for quick purchase at Must be Sold by Auction.

“We have a dedicated team who understand the benefits of fast, transparent auction sales and have experience in working with clients to dispose of property portfolios, so will be using this experience and knowledge to help sellers make informed decisions about their properties and choose the most appropriate selling route.”

David Miller, client account manager for corporate sales at Must be Sold by Auction, adds: “Working with SDL Property Auctions provides us with a great feeling of continuity for the brand and will also enable us to reach the widest possible audience of experienced and serious buyers.”

Parker welcomed the return of Must be Sold by Auction and adds: “We are delighted to be a part of this new chapter in their story and have been working closely with the Must be Sold by Auction team to provide training and resources to help them build a successful auction department. Together we are working towards the same aims – to achieve fast, hassle-free sales with a fall-through rate of almost zero.”

SDL Property Auctions has launched a 216-lot auction catalogue ahead of its National Property Auction on Thursday March 25. The auction will be live-streamed from its head office with bidding online, on the phone or by proxy.

To find out more about any of the properties or to register to bid, click here or call the team on 0800 046 5454. 

Record-breaking run continues for online auction sales

Online auction continues to grow in demand among sellers, with record-breaking sales reported in January and February by iamsold.

Across the first two months of the year, the UK residential property auctioneer supported estate agents with 799 online auction sales, up by 39% year-on-year.

Online auction sales in February alone were up by 54% year-on-year, with 420 properties sold, raising £64.9 million in capital value for sellers.  

iamsold expects the rise in demand to run into the spring and beyond, following the extension of the stamp duty holiday deadline and its partnerships with Rightmove and Zoopla, helping to make the Modern Method of Auction (MMoA) even more accessible to estate agents and sellers.

Jamie Cooke, managing director at iamsold, comments: "We're predicting another strong few months ahead for auction. The benefits of the Modern Method of Auction remain relevant – speed, security and offering choice aligned to vendors' circumstances as non-discretionary sales still make up a significant proportion of the market.”

“Our auction sales are beating records every month and we're positive it will continue for the spring season. Via our partnerships with both Rightmove and Zoopla, consumers will become increasingly aware of the choices available to them when it comes to methods of sale, and more and more agents will look to offer a range of options to vendors including auction."


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