A look back at 2016

As the Christmas festivities are in full swing and our last auction of the year has just taken place, we at last, find a small window in our busy schedule to sit back (not for too long though!), enjoy a coffee, mince pie and reflect on 2016. 

Who would have believed 2016 would see the UK win the huge arsenal of medals at the summer Olympics (August) and Paralympics (September) in Rio, Brazil; or a referendum where the people voted to leave the EU and the USA voted Donald Trump to President Elect?

A year where the UK Government meddle in the residential BTL industry – again! Perhaps it’s more political than practicable?  The governments intervention in the BTL industry; additional SDLT charges, removal of wear and tear allowance; phasing out of mortgage interest relief and most recently the banning of tenants fees are seen by many as totally unfair. Perhaps these changes are as a result of a few unscrupulous practitioners rather than the majority who provide a very valuable service. The phrase Sledge hammer to crack a nut springs to mind! Ultimately it’s likely to be the tenant who feels these changes the most; agents and landlords are likely to pass on some or all of these fees to the tenant, who will pay a higher rent for their entire term of let! (That seems fair for the tenant!). Yet despite all of the above changes, the markets for those properties suitable for the BTL market remains extremely popular and often attract significant interest, both at the scheduled viewings pre auction and bidding in the room itself.

The simple fact remains there are far too few homes available for our growing population and as the rental market is driven by supply and demand with a lack of supply and increasing demand rents will have no alternative but to be forced up.

2016, for the food industry, was the “International year of pulses”. Pulses in our auction rooms (albeit a different kind) have been raised all year as many of the vacant residential lots have been offered for the first time in years and in some cases decades. These ‘once in blue moon’ properties saw interest from developers, speculators and a wealth of owners occupiers alike – the market for residential properties in need of improvement, renovation, restoration and/or repair remains as active as ever.

Land this year has seen a brilliant  level of interest, perhaps many developers having used up ‘old land banked stock’ and need to replenish the ever diminishing availability. But as everyone will tell you, the price for a parcel of land with planning, is solely dependent on what can be built and the costs involved. Land buyers will not buy at any price, so the reserve and guide need to be carefully considered before marketing commences. Never the less, land remains a popular choice with developers chasing single and multiple sites as well as conversion projects.

We have seen several ‘new comers’ this year to the commercial sector, some switching from residential BTL, some buying with pension fund money and some looking at the alternative uses a building may have – especially if they can be converted to residential under the Permitted Development Rights planning scheme. We have sold our fair share of retail, leisure, office and industrial units this year – many vacant while other have been subject to a tenancy – again popular lots, whether vacant or let.

It would be remiss of us if we didn’t comment on those ‘other lots’ which make up a vital part of our catalogues, often intriguing, unusual, one off’s, and a sale by auction is an excellent way to market properties/land which fall in to this category. It is often, if not almost impossible, to know what an unusual lot is ‘worth’. It’s the auction room where competitive bidding in an open forum will usually flush out the best possible price even for the most reluctant of prospective buyers.

The eight catalogues have also included a great selection of garages and ground rents. We have offered everything from single lock up garages to entire compounds to a strong market from both the private buyer and specialist garage investors. The sale of Ground rents, a specialist area of investment, always proves a popular choice and often a safe bet against inflation. Interest therefore will no doubt continue to grow.

2016 really has been another ‘cracker’ of a year. Our December auction raised £15 million from a catalogue of 111 lots, raising the Year–To-Date to a whopping £160 million. Our clients are not only assured of excellent market exposure with our comprehensive marketing campaign for their lot, but also the best possible chance of success, as our level of success is well above the National Average, as provided by the Essential Information Group, an independent auction market analyst company.


Click here for a full list of the December results

And finally, before we close the chapter on 2016, we would like to wish all our clients, friends, buyers, professional introducers and fellow agents a very happy Christmas and a prosperous, healthy and peaceful 2017.