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Buying a house at Auction

11th August 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on property auction sales

Buying at auction is a great way to secure your perfect home without a chain – and removes the danger of being gazumped. But how has the recent COVID-19 pandemic affected the number of houses available via auction?

Many traditional auction houses have had to rethink the way that they hold their auctions – moving away from bidders collecting in the same room to remote auctions – with bidders being able to bid via phone or over the internet.

Andrew Binstock, director and auctioneer at Auction House London, reports the result of a live-streamed auction is that there is far less unplanned bidding than at a room sale. He says: “All bidders have to be specifically registered for each lot in which they are interested. This means that there is no whimsical bidding from buyers who have missed out on a previous lot and go on to purchase a totally different property – as often happens in room auctions".

Many auction houses are also reporting a higher number of properties coming to market via auction. Andy Thompson, Head of SDL Auctions, North West says that during the pandemic they have been “drawing in new sellers who would normally sell on the open market but are attracted by the certainty and speed of auction. The latest restrictions in movement will inevitably cause delays to private treaty sales, but an auction sale means your transaction completes on time, even if the restrictions continue until the auction".

With lower stamp-duty rates, a higher number of properties available through online auctions and less unplanned bidding, could this present an opportunity for cash buyers ready to secure their dream home at a bargain price?

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