Auction House, the UK’s biggest
property auctioneer – operating as Loveitts Auction House in Coventry and
Warwickshire - is considering whether to bring its sales back into the auction
room in the near future.
Smith, Auctioneer and Director says that any decision to move away from either
livestream or online sales – which have been the only method of buying and
selling through the group during the pandemic – will have to be carefully
She explains: “Livestream sales have
been spectacularly successful for us – even more so than we could ever have
imagined. Not only have our success rates gone up, but we are seeing three to
four times the number of people engaging with our auctions as we did when sales
were held in the room, both in terms of registered bidders and others simply
interested in watching and experiencing the excitement of the auction process.
“Many more younger people have become
involved whilst the numbers of our regular customer-base have remained
Auction House analysis indicates that
there has been a 10% increase in the engagement of 18–24-year-olds with its
sales, and a 5% increase in the 25-34 age category during the pandemic, whilst
the engagement by those aged over 65 has stayed exactly the same.
Sally Smith added:
“We need to take care not to disrupt this new demographic won over the course
of the Covid crisis – and there’s a risk that a return to room only auctions
might do just that.
“Livestream auctions have enabled us
to attract bidders to sales from all over the world during the past 18 months –
including successful bids from Hong Kong, America and Greece.
“We must remember that from the
public’s perspective, there is still a reluctance to meet in large numbers
unless absolutely necessary – particularly when bidders pre- pandemic often
brought members of their family to the room, so might not want to expose them
to what they perceive is a greater, and unnecessary risk.
“The power of video tours has been
phenomenal, with many of our buyers bidding on the strength of the video alone.”
During August, a traditionally quiet
month, Auction House sold 69 properties from 88 offered – a success rate of
78.4%, raising £10,931,000. Year to date sales are impressive with Auction
House recording 2,173 properties sold from 2,625 offered – an impressive
success rate of 82.8% raising a total of £362,644,928.
Sally Smith continued: “A further
point we have to consider is the speed of our sales. Pre-Covid, auction lots
were running at between 20 or 30 lots an hour. We’re now down to something like
10-15 lots an hour. So, if we were to return to the room in a ‘hybrid’ format,
we would need to take account of the fact that sales can now take up to twice
as long to complete.
“But whatever choice we make, the
last few months of the year are looking very positive. The number of lots
entered into our September auctions is up year-on-year and as far as a return
to the room is concerned, what’s right for one of our salesrooms might not be
right for all. So, ultimately, this is a decision we will make on a region-by-region