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Auction roundup – auction market set to soar despite SDLT return

This week, Property Investor Today looks at the exciting investment opportunities at the most anticipated auctions this month, and hears from a property search professional on the state of the auction market now that the first phase of the stamp duty holiday has ended.

Will the property auction market soften along with the rest of the market, or will it reach new heights as auctions slowly become the norm?

Auction House records its best first half to the year ever

Auction House has recorded its best first-half results in its 14-year history.

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Between January and June, the group raised over £275.5 million – a 60% increase and more than £100 million up on 2020, and almost £60 million better than its last record in 2016.

Commenting on the results, Auction House managing director Jeremy Prior says: “Announcing such spectacular figures during a global pandemic – some of which was spent in total lockdown – is a phenomenal achievement.”

“The fact is that people have already started to learn to live with Covid and are taking all necessary precautions while getting on with their daily lives. That includes the buying and selling of property. What’s more, they have faith in bricks and mortar as a reliable investment, and faith in the auction process to deliver.”

The month of June alone saw the sale of 279 properties from 338 offered – a success rate of 82.5%, and a total raised of £53,609,525.

According to Prior, investors are turning to bricks and mortar as the unlocking of the country continues. This is down to the speed and certainty of auction – when a property is scheduled to go under the hammer there is a clear and transparent date, by which it has to be sold.

“We expect a period of adjustment as the country adapts to the final lifting of the lockdown – currently expected to be on the 19th of July in England,” he adds. “However, we are planning to continue with our live stream and online sales indefinitely, which have proved to be such a success over the past 15 months.”

It is thought that the final end of the stamp duty holiday in September will see a slight cooling in demand, which may have an impact on the number of would-be buyers for private treaty sales.

But Prior doesn’t expect the auction sales process to soften and predicts values to keep rising for the next six months.

“Indeed, for as long as interest rates remain low, we see no reason why both prices and the volume of sales should not continue to rise in the future,” he concludes.

Bond Wolfe unveils more opportunities for upcoming auction

DIY enthusiasts will be attracted to homes needing attention across Birmingham with prices ranging from £29,900 to £225,000 at Bond Wolfe’s next auction this month.

A two-bedroomed, mid-terraced house at 8 Norwood Grove in Lozells is just one of the many lots going under the hammer. The vacant property with front and back gardens comes with a guide price of £29,000-£34,000, reflecting its need for modernisation.

Renovation is also for a two-bedroomed, mid-terraced house that stands flush to the pavement at 60 Eva Road in nearby Winson Green. This property benefits from a rear yard and garden, a second-floor attic room, central heating and double glazing, but it still has an attractive guide price of £39,000-£44,000.

Gurpreet Bassi, chief executive of Bond Wolfe, says: “These homes may well need works but come with guide prices that make them very attractive. They could be ideal for first-time buyers with DIY skills or for landlords looking for new investments for their portfolios.”

Low-priced homes that need attention are also available in the much sought-after suburb of Kings Heath, where another two-bedroomed, mid-terraced house at 5 Fairfield Road has a guide price of £50,000-plus. The property stands flush to the pavement but has an extended kitchen, rear garden, central heating and double glazing, although again it needs works.

An interesting property also needing renovation is Vine Cottage, on Church Lane in Wishaw, near the smart town of Sutton Coldfield. This two-bedroomed, semi-detached cottage which has extensive land to the side previously used for dog kennelling, and a store previously used as an aviary, comes with a guide price of £195,000 to £225,000.

The auction house is also offering family homes in Stoke-on-Trent with prices starting from £10,000 each.

A trio of mid-terraced homes are listed with this guide price – two in Nash Peake Street in Tunstall, at numbers 29 and 42, and the third at 30 May Place in the Fenton district of Stoke. Each offers two bedrooms and stand flush to the pavement with a yard to the rear.

And a guide price of just £20,000-plus is listed for a three-bedroom mid terraced house at 7 St Aidans Street in Tunstall. The property is laid out with two reception rooms on the ground floor, with the kitchen and bathroom/WC. Two bedrooms are on the first floor and a third is an attic room. There is a yard at the rear and the property is fitted with gas fired central heating and double glazing.

Bassi comments: “It’s not often that you get family-sized homes at such reasonable starting prices. In most cases, properties with these very low guide prices are in need of modernisation or renovation work, but they still offer remarkable value at a time when ordinary property market prices are soaring. As a result, we are expecting intense competition on the day of the auction.”

These lots are just a few of the 248 lots listed in Bond Wolfe’s next auction which starts at 8.30am on Wednesday July 21.

The auction will be live-streamed via Bond Wolfe’s website with remote bidding by proxy, telephone or internet only, and bidders must pre-register no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 20 July.

iamsold sells £400m worth of property in six record-breaking months

iamsold is reporting six months of success with over £400 million worth of property sold for agents and their clients since January.

Part of the iamproperty Group, the online auctioneer has seen an average of £68.5 million worth of property sold in each month.

Alongside a growing number of estate agent branches choosing to work with iamsold, more sellers are choosing the Modern Method of Auction in order to enjoy the benefits of a fast, secure and lucrative sale, particularly in this buoyant market.

During the first six months of the year, an average of 42% of properties sold over their reserve price with iamsold. Comparatively, the whole market ‘over asking price’ peaked at 33% during May, as reported by NAEA Propertymark.

Jamie Cooke, managing director of iamsold, comments: “Our positioning in the market has been perfect to deal with the rising demand for auction. During the pandemic, a more digital experience became a necessity and gave many the opportunity to experience auction. Now, many of our agents’ clients are proactively choosing the Modern Method of Auction – something which has been growing over time but has certainly accelerated in the last 12 months.”

“The speed at which we can progress sales has proven extremely attractive to buyers and sellers, who are able to complete their sales within an average of 56 days, that coupled with our 95% success rate shows that auction has a strong place in a booming property market.”

He adds: “Against the backdrop of the stamp duty holiday coming to an end, efficiencies that meant getting house sales over the line were welcomed by agents and clients.”

Cooke says consumer confidence and awareness of auction has boosted the number of total bids to over 27,000 – nearly three times as many in the same period last year and in 2019.

“This supports our agent network to feel confident when recommending auction to their clients, particularly in the current market,” he adds. “We’ve enjoyed huge success in the last 6 months, and we’ve been able to pass this on to our Partner Agents – paying out an average of £1.5 million to agents each month.”

Seacliff homes and beach plots to go under the hammer with Clive Emson

Clive Emson’s fifth auction of the year sees 111 unique lots listed across southern England, with guide prices ranging from £1,000 to £1.4 million.

Seven beach lots at Lydd-on-Sea in Kent overlooking the English Channel and near to the RNLI Dungeness lifeboat station, and famous Prospect Cottage, the creative home and garden of late artist and music video director Derek Jarman, are available with a £7,000-£10,000 estimate.

Elsewhere, a former pub called The Clothworkers Arms located at the village of Sutton Valence near Maidstone with sweeping views across the Weald of Kent, is guided at £300,000-£320,000. There is planning permission for residential use.

In the Kent town Chatham, the childhood home of the great English novelist Charles Dickens, a pub with 10 letting rooms above, is guided at £200,000-plus. The Alexandra Hotel currently generates £26,200 per annum, with an estimated rental of £67,320 per annum.

Auction roundup – auction market set to soar despite SDLT return

St Mary’s, a former Anglican church dating back to the 12th century at the Domesday Book village of East Wittering, West Sussex, and measuring 1,100 sq ft internally, is guided at £175,000-£200,000.

Two water leisure locations in Hampshire are also listed – one freshwater, the other sea.

The first is inland and covers more than five acres, with spring-fed fishing lakes, on-site camping and a lodge at Ower, near Romsey – and a record catch to date of a 22Ib carp. It is guided at £800,000-plus.

Lot 44, a 65-berth marina and sail loft at Upper Quay, Fareham, near Portsmouth, is currently let at £60,000 per annum from 42 moorings with a guide of £800-900,000.

Auction roundup – auction market set to soar despite SDLT return

Meanwhile, Trustees have instructed the sale of a former care home with a bungalow at Brixham, south Devon. Dating back to 1835 as a grand manor house, the property is guided at £800,000-£850,000 and is described as having “palpable” potential.

James Emson, Clive Emson’s managing director, says: “Our lots attract diverse buyers with a range of tastes and budgets – lots are offered in a clear and transparent marketplace and dealt with in the highest ethical and professional standards.”

“The era of record-low interest rates can make property attractive for buyers, with long-term capital growth, rental income and a hedge against inflation, compared to anemic returns on cash saved in the bank or building society.”

Clive Emson’s June auction raised £23.5 million in sales, with a success rate of 80%. There were 45,000-plus website hits over the auction and 20,000 viewings of walk-through videos. Its next sale takes place on July 28.

Buoyant property auction market set to continue despite SDLT return

Record-breaking growth in the current residential property auction market will continue despite the new Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) rates that took effect on July 1.

That is the view of Kate Bould, residential property search professional and managing director of Index West Midlands.

She notes many properties sold at auction fall well under the £250,000 SDLT tax band, and this together with the absence of a buying chain for many properties, a speedy sales and completion timeframe, and widespread adoption of a digital-first lifestyle for buyers, sellers and investors, means the record-breaking number of properties going under the hammer is likely to continue.

Auction roundup – auction market set to soar despite SDLT return“Since 2019, the appeal of property auctions has grown, particularly amongst investors and buy-to-let developers,” says Bould. “Recent figures for auction sales between January and May reveal a 205% increase in volume compared to the same period in 2020 and an 146% rise for 2019 – the highest in three years – and Google data confirms this, with statistics indicating interest for property auctions on the search engine is up 50% from last year.”

“The timeframe for auction transactions is typically much shorter than those of a traditional purchase, with an average 28-day transaction period, and often there is no chain at all, and this is adding to the appeal of property auctions for buyers and sellers.”

Index West Midlands, which works with national and independent estate and real estate agents, specialises in providing property searches to conveyancers and residential property solicitors. As well as searches commissioned for properties sold at auction, the company has recorded an upturn in the number of rural properties being sold at auction too:

“Studying the number of property searches in recent weeks, we have seen more auction properties be listed with our solicitor clients, and in particular a rise in the number of rural properties sold at auction from across the region, especially those in Worcestershire, Warwickshire and Shropshire,” Bould explains.

“With demand for properties continuing to outstrip supply, buyers need to take their time, and not be swept along by the pressure of an auction sale and make ill-informed, hasty, poorly judged decisions’ to buy a property that perhaps isn’t really what they are looking for.”

“Every property listed with an auction house needs a comprehensive pack of searches – typically to include local, drainage and water, environmental and mining and minerals, and any local risk in its area – and an experienced solicitor will handle the commissioning of these.”

Bould advises buyers to carefully read the pack, commission a legal review, and visit the property itself.

“Buyers must also understand the completion timeframe, the non-refundable reservation fee that is often around 4% to 5% of the purchase price so likely to be a minimum payment of around £6,000, which is added to stamp duty calculations,” she adds.

She says buyers should also find out about insurance policies: “There are affordable policies that provide protection against some of the problems that could be identified at the property ahead of the transaction completing.”

“However, these should be discussed with a solicitor and/or the auction house, which often have strict cancellation policies which are not always protected against – another reason to carry out comprehensive due diligence prior to purchasing a property at auction.”

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