Belfast Telegraph

Property auction sector sees strong growth

The auction market showed "encouraging growth" during November with the number of homes going under the hammer jumping by 12%.

A total of 1,838 residential properties were offered at auction during the month, 12% more than in November 2009, according to the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA) and property information firm EI Group.

Around 59% or 1,078, of these properties were successfully sold, an 8% increase on the previous November.

The latest figures build on a strong performance for the auction market seen during September and October, which are traditionally its busiest months of the year.

Around 3,454 residential properties went under the hammer in September, nearly 25% more than in the same month of the previous year, while 2,716 homes were auctioned during October, up 18% on 12 months earlier.

Both months also saw year-on-year increases in the proportion of residential properties that were sold.

The group said the market was showing "encouraging growth" through the year-on-year increases, adding that its seasonal nature, meant month-on-month comparisons tended to be misleading.

The figures bode well for the housing market, as what is happening at property auctions is often seen as a leading indicator for the housing market as a whole.

The data comes as the Bank of England said the number of mortgages approved for house purchase rose for the first time in seven months during November, increasing to 48,019 loans, although the figure remains well down on the 70,000 to 80,000 approvals a month that economists consider to be consistent with a stable housing market.

But while the residential auction market has picked up in recent months, the commercial one has shown a decline.

Only 174 commercial properties were sold at auction during November, down from 228 in the same month of 2009, although the value of the properties sold was up year-on-year.

However, the number of commercial properties offered at auction rose by 9% in October, while there was a 5% increase in the number of the properties sold in September, compared with the same month of the previous year.

Melfyn Williams, chairman of NAVA, said: "After a quiet summer, the residential and commercial auction markets were resilient and are now experiencing broad, if cautious, growth.

"Now is an excellent time for investors and buy-to-let specialists to invest in property through the auction market, as money is likely to accrue faster than if it was left in the bank.

"As we move into 2011, we would expect property prices at auction in both the commercial and residential markets to improve albeit slowly. The market continues to show signs of forward motion into 2011."

Belfast Telegraph


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