For some, the term property auction still conjures up images of Homes under the Hammer, distressed houses and low-value properties that have struggled to sell. Whilst the buzz and popularity of property auctions is as strong as ever, the type of properties for sale and why they came to auction is changing.

A review of our auction figures between October 2015 and September 2016 reinforces a growing shift in the perception of auctions and the sheer variety of properties for sale, particularly high value homes. During this time the volume of lots offered over £1m have increased and now make up about 10% of lots for sale. At our July and September auctions, we raised over £119m from the sale of properties valued over £1m alone.

Many of these properties are in the Capital, where there is a greater concentration of high value homes and many are far from the distressed properties so often associated with auction houses. In our auction on 3rd November we have a wide variety of lots, 25 in total priced over £1m, ranging from family homes in Battersea and Balham to prime property in Kensington and Marylebone.

For example, lot 178 – a two-bedroom flat in a classic white stucco-fronted house on a sought-after street in Notting Hill – is being offered for sale with a guide price of £1.5m. And, lot 74 – a ground and first-floor maisonette with outside space on Redcliffe Road, one of the most popular streets in Chelsea – has a reserve of £1.55m.

Banishing the misconception that auction houses feature undesirable and hard to sell properties is lot 47 which is truly a historical gem. A third floor, large apartment in Knightsbridge, its availability at our November auction is a rare opportunity to purchase a property of such cultural pedigree and heritage. The property is part of the South Kensington Estate that counts Sir William Blake and Oliver Cromwell as part of its illustrious history. The apartment, part of Empire House, was designed by famous Edwardian architect Paul Hoffman in 1909. This lot has a guide price of £2.7m and is already attracting significant interest.

We are also seeing more family homes coming to auction across the country but London offers some of the finest, high specification properties ideal for family use. Lot 27, the ‘Levens’ is no exception. A stunning detached mansion house in Winchmore Hill, it comes with a swimming pool, sauna and games room with a guide price of £3m.

This trend extends beyond London, with a growing number of country homes valued over £1m being sold in the auction room. Take, lot 99, a charming five-bedroom country house in Chigwell, Essex. With its white picket fence and convenient transport links into London, this lot would make an ideal family home.

Other lots available at the November auction span from properties in the Capital ripe for renovation to a local football club with potential for development and a coastal site in Torquay with planning permission for five beach huts and a kiosk.

More than ever we are seeing a greater number of sellers coming to auction for the many benefits selling by auction can offer both vendors and buyers. As well as being a simple, quick and uncomplicated avenue to market, sellers are often always guaranteed a sale from buyers who are pre-qualified and actively looking to purchase.

The types of buyers coming to our auctions are changing too. As the range of properties offered has widened, so too have buyer profiles. Whilst developers and investors of all scales still make up the majority of bidders, we are now also seeing owner-occupiers choosing auction houses as a credible and effective route to purchasing a new home.

A common misconception is that auctions are for seasoned buyers who know the process like the back of their hand. In fact, 30% of people at auctions are there for the first time. Many are drawn to the transparency, speed and certainty that property auctions can offer and, due to the change in perception and the increasing diversity of lot types and values, the auction room is attracting more new bidders into the room than ever.

Popular television shows such as Homes under the Hammer have certainly played a role. By bringing property auctions into the living rooms of millions, television has raised the profile of auctions which are seen as more accessible to every day buyers. A greater variety in properties, buyers and sellers is tremendously positive and a clear signal that the future of property auctions is a bright one.

Notes to editor

Richard joined Allsop and the Residential Auction team in January 2001 as an intern and subsequently joined the Graduate Scheme that September. He then returned to the Residential Auction team in 2004 as a Surveyor. In 2006 he entered the RICS national auction competition, coming runner up in the final. Later that year Richard took to the rostrum professionally for Allsop and has been an Auctioneer ever since. He has been a Partner of the firm since 2012.

Richard has spent a large portion of his time selling assets on behalf of banks, receivers, administrators, liquidators and mortgagees. More recently clients have included developers, traders and property companies. He has a wide range of experience in selling all residential asset types, with a more recent expertise in selling former office buildings with Permitted Development Rights for residential conversion.

The posts on this blog are provided ‘as is’ with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of their employer.


If you would like to get in touch with Richard, please contact him: or +44 (0)20 7344 2614