Allsop Commercial’s bumper July auction raises £82.5m

Allsop Commercial has raised £82.5m at its latest auction, a figure boosted by the sale of its highest-value lot in three years - a £7.1m office parade in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

At the 10 July sale - the auctioneer’s fourth of the year - it raised £13m more than the equivalent sale last year and found buyers for 141 of the 171 lots offered. The 83% success rate was, however, slightly down on the 88% success rate in July 2016, when 136 of the 156 lots offered were sold.

St Peter’s House, the property in St Albans, was offered with a guide price of £5.75m, but eventually sold for £1.35m above that, at a yield of 5.5%. It is the largest lot Allsop has sold this year and the largest to be sold by Allsop Commercial in three years, according to the auctioneer.

Apple took some office space in St Albans and suddenly it became an office investment

Part let to charity the Abbeyfield Society and the Valuation Office Agency, the 22,089 sq ft property has the potential for conversion to residential through permitted development rights. However, it was its office usage that attracted investors, said Allsop Commercial partner and auctioneer George Walker.

“The sale has certainly beaten our expectations and it was the busiest room I’ve seen in some time,” he said.

“Obviously, our biggest lot so far this year has helped - it brought a lot of people to the room. There was a question mark around the best use for the building: we marketed it as a possible residential development. Then three weeks before the auction, Apple took some office space in St Albans and suddenly it became an office investment.”

Multiple uses

Properties with multiple potential uses often performed particularly well in the auction room, he added.

There was strong demand for retail assets in London at the sale, said Walker. The second-largest lot to go under the hammer on 10 July comprised a pair of shops in Harrow, Middlesex, which was guided at £2m to £2.4m and sold for £2.6m, reflecting a 5.7% yield.

A shop in East Ham, London, sold for £2.26m from a £2m to £2.2m guide price. The property, which is fully let to WHSmith until 2028, produces £111,800 per year in rent.

The next Allsop Commercial auction will be held on 17 October at the Berkeley Hotel in London.

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