The confidence that is returning to the general property market is spilling over into property auction rooms, too. After a slow year, auctioneers may take heart from results of the autumn auctions round.
Savills’ fourth commercial auction of the year, in October, achieved an overall success rate of 80 per cent. Of 20 lots, 16 were sold, raising £6.8 million. Simon Parker, head of commercial auctions at Savills, comments: “In line with the wider UK investment market, our October auction saw strong and competitive bidding for realistically-priced lots that offered either secure income and robust covenants or vacant stock with asset-management potential. With these fundamental buying criteria in place for discerning investors, it is the committed sellers who are achieving success in the auction room.”
Among lots which went under the hammer was 115-143 Bayham Street, London NW1. In Camden, just off the high street, this freehold office building totals 12,090 sq ft. Set over four storeys, it includes parking for at least five cars. The ground floor features a self-contained office suite and a further single store/office. The three upper floors comprise individual open-plan office space and can be accessed via a 10-person lift. The building also includes suspended ceilings, central heating, air-handling systems, carpeted floors, perimeter trunking and access to the roof. It is ready for occupation or letting.
Numbers 125-143 Bayham Street comprise a medical centre, which forms part of a head lease and has been sold off on a long lease for a term of 983 years from June 24, 1925, at a ground rent of £150 per annum.
Neither building is listed, but they do fall within the Camden Town conservation area. The property was sold for £2.58 million, reflecting a price of £213 per sq ft.
Meanwhile, competitive bidding for homes in London and in the Home Counties pushed total receipts above £15.3 million, as 61 per cent of 142 lots sold at Andrews & Robertson’s September auction, with prices averaging 36 per cent above guides.
Investment returns on assured shorthold tenancies closed at 10.8 per cent, while properties let on regulated tenancies reached 2.8 per cent and yields on shops reached almost 8 per cent, as growing numbers of buyers moved money out of low-yielding bank accounts and into property.
Northern sales slowed down the turnover, as buyers chose to invest in the south, reflecting national trends that show London is leading the way in property recovery. Some 75 per cent of 111 lots in the capital and Home Counties sold at the Grand Connaught Rooms auction on September 22.
Robin Cripp, senior auctioneer and chief executive, said: “We were very pleased with the results achieved, particularly on our southern lots. Prices were very strong, especially those in London. We accepted a portfolio of 31 vandalised houses in Manchester on behalf of a regular client and knew they could be a challenge to sell, but we believe in offering our vendors every opportunity to sell through the room, rather than focus exclusively on our success rate. We realised this might have an impact on our turnover and this proved to be the case.”