Auction roundup – and despite rising interest rates

This week’s mini roundup features another success story from Auction House, which says buyer demand has trumped the rising interest rates, and the release of Allsop’s May residential auction catalogue.

Buyer demand undeterred by rising interest rates, says Auction House

Auction House has reported its best-ever first quarter of the year despite a steady succession of interest rate rises.

Between January and March, the property auctioneer sold a record 892 properties from 1063 offered – a success rate of 83.9% and raising a total of £137,849,799.

This marks a 6.5% increase in the number of sales from its previous record first quarter last year, when the group sold 838 lots from 1042 offered (a success rate of 80.4% and raising £132,683,102 in the process).

Commenting on the figures, Auction House managing director Jeremy Prior says: “This is another remarkable set of figures from Auction House – especially considering the wider economic position the market was facing at the time.”

“Since December, we’ve had three consecutive rises in the Bank of England base rate – from just 0.1% in December last year to a more substantial 0.75% now, taking it back to pre-Covid levels.”

Prior says these moves were mainly in response to a soaring UK inflation rate, which rose to 6.2% in the year to February 2022, up from 5.5% the month before.

“Many forecasters now believe that inflation could peak at a level higher than the 8% previously predicted,” he adds. “Ordinarily in such circumstances, you would expect higher interest rates to encourage people to save more because they get a higher return, and borrow less because it‘s expensive – especially for those on variable rate mortgage deals, of course.”

“And yet this year, these interest rate increases don’t seem to have been affecting buyer demand, which has remained strong throughout. This may have been the first back-to-back increase since 2004, but it was also our best-ever first quarter and our best-ever March too.”

Compared to pre-pandemic figures, Auction House says this year’s successes are even more marked. In March 2019, Auction House sold 261 properties, whilst in March 2022 the group sold 400 – an increase of more than 50% (52.3%). There was also a 14% increase in the number of lots sold in the first quarter of 2019 (781) compared with the first quarter of 2022 (892).  

Prior goes on to say: “These figures only go to show the astonishing resilience of the auctions market. Even with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, interest rates and mortgages both going up, and huge uncertainty over how we live with Covid, people continue to gravitate towards bricks and mortar.”

“Even if continuing inflation means that we should expect to see further interest rate rises this year – perhaps as soon as the next meeting of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting on 5 May. Nevertheless, we firmly believe the market will continue its robust stance, as it has during the first three months of the year.”

Allsop brings 174 lots to market for May auction

Allsop has released its May residential auction catalogue, offering 174 lots of which 20 are guided above £1 million.

Several lots feature significant repurposing potential, including a former Debenhams in Sheffield city centre.

The new catalogue provides potential buyers with a wide geographical spread of investments and developments, with lots available in London, Sheffield, Kent, and other in-demand locations.

Opportunities include a diverse mix of houses, apartments, ground rent investments and mixed-use schemes from a varied pool of sellers.

Highlights from the residential catalogue include:

  • Lot 41 – former Debenhams building in Sheffield city centre with redevelopment potential, extending to approximately 213,892 sq. ft, guided at £4.5- £5 million
  • Lot 32 – a freehold detached purpose-built block of 33 self-contained flats with landscaped communal gardens and car parking area, situated in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, guided at £4.25 million-plus
  • Lot 83 – a freehold building providing ten self-contained flats and three commercial units subject to long lease situated in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, guided at £2.8 million-plus
  • Lot 76 – a freehold former office and retail building with planning permission to form a student hall of residence comprising 97 bedrooms, located in Portsmouth, Hampshire, guided at £2.3 million-plus

Richard Adamson, partner and auctioneer at Allsop, comments: “We are pleased to release another strong catalogue, with over 170 lots on offer. Our next auction is set to offer plenty of value-add opportunities across the country.”

“As the market continues to go from strength to strength, we have witnessed a very busy first quarter, demonstrating how robust residential property remains as an asset class for investors. We are expecting a busy couple of weeks ahead of the auction as buyers seek express early interest in lots.”

Allsop’s next residential auction will be held virtually on 12th May, and the complete catalogue is available here.

Written by: Houseladder