Auction House – operating as Loveitts Auction House in Coventry and Warwickshire - is continuing to sell properties during the lockdown for the coronavirus outbreak, at a time when most estate agents and even other property auctioneers have put business on hold.
The group sold more than 150 lots during the first two weeks of the restrictions coming into place – many of them well above their guide prices - by transferring its usual room auction lots to its online operation.
Sally Smith said: “We’ve been thrilled with how successfully our tried and trusted system of selling online has clicked into place. Auctions have either been held ‘eBay-style’ on the web, or via a live-stream with bids coming in on the telephone, online or by proxy.
“Crucially, many lots are selling for far more than their guide prices too. Six bidders pushed a derelict house and land in Meriden guided at £200,000-£220,000 up to £315,000 with 124 bids being placed! Competing bids meant that a vacant house in Coventry surged from its guide price of £110,000-£130,000 to a sold price of £182,000”
Sally says that the fact that auction entries include a high proportion of empty properties and land has enabled the group to market available lots almost as intensively as before. He explains: “Whilst of course we can’t offer viewings in the normal way, we can record guided video tours of vacant properties, and even tours streamed live on Facebook, with buyers’ questions being answered in real time.”
The success of online sales comes at the end of a busy March, which saw Auction House offer 318 lots in total, selling 225 of these at a success rate of 70.8%, with more than £27 million raised in the month (£27,095,818). First Quarter figures are looking strong too – and are the second highest ever recorded by the group, with 947 lots offered and 732 lots sold, at an average success rate of 77.3% and collective sales of over £89 million (£89,041,190).
Sally adds: “Auction House was absolutely flying up until the restrictions hit, and the appetite for selling by auction had certainly strengthened. But even in this more challenging trading environment, we are still very much open for business. We are continuing to take new auction entries, marketing them and hammering lots down, with an immediate exchange of contracts.
“In fact, the number of entries for April sits at an impressive total of more than 400 already. And whilst this is around a 30% drop compared to last year, it’s still well above the 70% fall in private treaty instructions that Zoopla are currently reporting.
“All in all, despite the restrictions, we’re delighted to be delivering sales for our sellers – especially those who urgently need to sell - and enabling auction buyers to purchase, with online bid numbers on popular lots at a similar level to our auction room experiences.”