Auction House’s Q1 results outstrip last year’s figures

Auction House has hailed an improvement in its year-on-year first-quarter results as evidence the auction market has bounced back sooner than the wider market from the impact of the new stamp duty surcharge and EU referendum.

The group sold 701 lots across its 40 auction houses between January and March - exactly the same number as in the first quarter of 2016. However, it raised £87.1m, slightly more than the £86.5m it raised last year, reflecting a success rate of 77% versus 75.5%.

This time last year, Auction House said the result was buoyed by those wanting to avoid the 3% stamp duty surcharge for landlords and second-home purchasers, which came into effect in April 2016.

Auction House director Roger Lake said that since then, although the surcharge had dissuaded some buy-to-let investors, the impact had been offset by an increase in interest from owner-occupiers.

Auction is the first property sector to re-establish itself back to the sales levels we saw before the EU referendum last year

“The switch to selling auction lots at sales close to where they are situated is very noticeable, as is the growth in the number of people who are ‘buying to live’ rather than ‘buying to let’ - primarily because such purchasers don’t have to factor in a profit margin,” said Lake.

“The figures also indicate that auction is the first property sector to re-establish itself back to the sales levels we saw before the EU referendum last year.”

Record year

The 3,282 lots sold across the whole of 2016 represented a record annual total for Auction House.

Auction House London, the largest auction house in the group, recently sold the highest-priced lot in its history, a six-bed Victorian house in St John’s Wood, north London, which was guided at £3m and sold for £3.25m.

Vendors were becoming more sophisticated in their approach to selling properties at auction, said Lake. “More sellers now understand the logic behind marketing with keen guide prices and the benefits of competitive bidding in our auction rooms,” he said. “For many types of property, the hammer prices achieved at auction now regularly match and exceed those delivered through estate agents.”

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