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Auctions upbeat

    Property auctioneers report a positive start to sales in 2011, though still a long way short of the boom years.

    Acuitus raised £25.05 million from its February auction, with its highest "in the room" success rate - 69 per cent - since its launch last May. At £1.3 million, the average sale price maintained Acuitus's reputation for consistently achieving the highest average lot sale prices. The lots sold represented 74 per cent of the catalogue by value of total guide prices.

    Acuitus auctioneer Richard Auterac says: "The range of the assets which attracted buyers, the prices commanded and the yields reflected shows that there are always buyers for assets which are brought to the market with a depth of detail and correctly priced," he says. "In what will remain a challenging commercial property market, we were delighted to see Acuitus's auction approach being once again endorsed by such a busy room.

    "With purchase prices ranging from £330,000 to over £3 million, a yield spread from as low as three per cent through to 14 per cent and lots sold including medical, nursery and licensed properties together with a residential development site, this was a sale that clearly demonstrated the breadth of appetite that investors have."

    Savills London's first residential auction of the year raised £30.42 million with 87 per cent of properties. Paul Mooney, Savills auctioneer, says: "The room was packed with 500 to 600 people at any one time, all looking to buy and most lots had four or five people bidding. The strongest lots were those in London. Two bidders went head to head on a large double-fronted four-bedroom house in Battersea. It was on at a guide of £700,000 and eventually sold for £900,000."

    Andrews & Robertson raised £16 million with 73 per cent of properties selling at its debut auction of 2011.

    Robin Cripp, auctioneer, says: "We had a diversity of property in locations that appealed to buyers and sparked genuine competition in the room, producing prices well above guides. There is a real enthusiasm to buy and no shortage of money for the right stock. Though the market remains predominantly London-centric, regional buyers are also sourcing investments and are looking for value.

    "As our results demonstrate, there is no better place to establish value on the day than in our auction room. Following our intensive marketing programme, there was 150 viewings on a former underground station in Shoreditch with potential for alternative use. It was a very hard property to price and was guided at £180,000 as a result, but it found its own value in the room, to sell for £665,000."

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