The success of online property auctions during the lockdown could mark the decline of the traditional open-call variety.
Auction groups are claiming significant sales through their online auctions, including SDL Auctions, which is preparing to host its largest ever live broadcast auction later this month, when 161 residential and commercial property lots go under the hammer.
During its live virtual national property auctions, bids are placed online, over the phone or by proxy. Since the start of the lockdown, it’s sold an average of five properties each working day and raised more than £34 million for sellers.
Andy Thompson, head of auctions North West at SDL, believes its live-broadcast auctions are as close to the real thing as possible – and in some ways better.
He says if phone and internet buyers watch on screen at the same time as bidding, they can see the auctioneer close up, instead of across a sea of heads. And when he speaks, he’s not addressing a crowded room but speaking directly to them, which feels much more personal.
Many investors live far away from its Manchester venue and don’t want to waste valuable time travelling, says Thompson, who adds that SDL’s May auction was watched by 1,500 people.
He adds: “Will our remote auctions change the face of property auctions forever? It’s too soon to tell. But I do believe we need to start thinking less about getting back to normal and start considering how to move forward with a new normal, deciding which practices to take with us when the crisis is over.”