The first residential auction of the year by UK firm Allsop saw boom time conditions rather than a recession, the firm has said.
The auction held on February 17 in London saw 91 percent of the 231 residential lots sold, according to the firm, raising £56.5 million ($82.1 million; €63.8 million) in the process.
After the event, the firm said the auction was always going to be seen as a barometer of market conditions.
It said more than 100 people attended the auction, with those not able to get into the main auction room spilling into the ante rooms and lobbies.
A second auction held two days later was similar and saw 90 percent of the lots sold.
Auctioneer and partner, Gary Murphy, said in a statement: “I have only ever seen a sale room like this in extreme boom conditions. You would not have known that we were in recession.” He said it was clear that buyers perceive that, for the time being the market had stabilised.
Those with cash are shunning alternative forms of investment, he said. However, the popularity of auctions is in sharp contrast to the slower pace of private treaty transactions, the firm said. With asking prices more a reflection of sellers' optimistic aspirations, buyers keen to spend wisely are turning to the auction room in their search for sensibly priced property. The sale was not dominated by repossessions, in contrast to Allsop's last three catalogues of 2008 which saw distressed lots make up 80 percent of lots offered.
Murphy added that clients represented at the sale included ten housing associations, five local authorities, two public bodies and variety of property companies.
“It was encouraging to see some familiar characters locked in battle with each other once more.” said Murphy. “In particular, some of the buyers formerly active in the regulated tenancy market have resurfaced”.