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Property auction numbers continue to slide

Written by: Heather Greig-Smith
The number of homes sold by auction fell again in October, down 6.2% on the same period last year.

That’s according to analysis by Essential Information Group (EIG), which said the number of residential lots offered for sale was also lower, at 2,300 down from 2,465 last October (-6.7%).

EIG said 150 auctions were held across the UK last month for commercial and residential property, 12 fewer than in October 2015.

“It is perhaps unsurprising to see a fall in both lots offered (down 4.1%) and lots sold (down 3.3%) against last year,” said David Sandeman, managing director at EIG. “The total amount raised saw a more substantial drop, down 14.3% £518m to £444m.”

However, the percentage sold overall rose 0.8% and 0.6% for residential properties, suggesting auctioneers are being more selective.

Sandeman said the auction market is quick to respond to changing conditions. “Overall the percentage sold went up. I suspect auctioneers have been stricter on reserve levels and more selective on the lots they accept.”

On the residential side, he said Brexit may have had an impact and that hardening of yields is also a contributory factor. Six or seven years ago these were around 8% but that have now come down to 4% or 5%.

“There is the prospect of much higher stamp duty, more regulation on the letting of properties and now we’re losing income tax relief on mortgage interest payments. Volumes are coming down [as a result],” he said.

Despite this, residential auction sales for the year from November 2015 to October 2016 are up 4.2% on the previous year. They raised £3,204m – up from £2,972m. The overall annual picture was also positive, with lots offered up 2.1% to 33,652 and lots sold up 1.6% to 25,537. This raised £4,557m, up 7.5% from £4,238m.

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