Life & Culture

Investors enjoy winter buying spree


The auctions market can congratulate itself on a good 2015. Elections notwithstanding, sales records have tumbled as fast as prices and catalogue sizes have increased. Lambert Smith Hampton reports a healthy auction in December. Among lots selling well, a former banking hall in Harrow went under the hammer for £660,000. Marketed to developers, it came with vacant possession, with the upper floors sold off on a long lease. The firm raised £6.47 million on the day from a catalogue of 60 lots. In total, the sale made £10 million, with a success rate of 84 per cent.

Allsop's residential sale yesterday featured 260 lots, ranging from ground rents to country houses and including 47 assured shorthold tenancy investments. "These ready-made buy-to-let investments will provide an opportunity to acquire property before the three per cent hike in stamp duty next April," said partner and auctioneer Gary Murphy before the sale.

This was Allsop Residential's seventh and final sale of 2015. The number of higher-value lots has been rising, with 18 lots guided in excess of £1 million.

As well as standard fare, such as a two-bedroom flat in Hampstead, NW3 guided at £1 million to £1.1 million, there were unusual lots, such as the freehold of a 0.18-acre garden square in Kensington at a guide price of £175,000-plus and a grade II listed Elizabethan manor house in Gloucestershire, guided at £750,000-plus.

In the commercial market, Allsop auctioneer Duncan Moir says: "The strength of demand is clear. The lack of quality income in this low-interest-rate climate is putting a premium on to the better investments."

Strong competition in the room saw many sales exceed guides at Allsop's final commercial sale of 2015. A freehold office investment in New Malden, let on a short lease, sold at £3.75 million (£266 per sq ft) off a guide price of £2.5 to £2.7 million. There were more than 30 bidders for this lot, despite its having been on the market through private treaty for over a year.

The final Acuitus auction of 2015 saw the sale of £43.08 million of assets with a success rate of 87 per cent. Demand for London properties remained undiminished, with a freehold retail investment in Wood Green selling for £2.1 million at a yield of five per cent. The 5,043 sq ft shop is let to Holland & Barrett until 2026 at a current rent of £111,200/year.

Richard Auterac, Acuitus auctioneer, says: "Investors were out in force and had an appetite for all the sectors across a wide geographic spread."

The only black lining to the silver-laced auction horizon is the stamp-duty hike mentioned by Mr Murphy. But Auction House London says the tax plans represent "a bruise rather than a body blow" for the auctions sector.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive