Our thoughts

Auctions and statistics

Any glance at the recent auction results focusing on Central London will appear to paint a familiar picture. Auction rooms full to bursting regardless of the icy conditions outside, with buyers ready and willing to pay top dollar.

Allsop advertised on the 17th December that in its last sale, 80% of properties sold in excess of their reserve and of those, 6% exceeded their reserve by at least 100%. Auction houses, however, often set absurdly low guide prices which can distort the figures.

Take for example, 60 Felden Street, Fulham SW6, which went to auction with Savills on the 7th December 2010. This is a freehold terraced house, in a pretty tree lined street, set over two floors with a 25′ west facing garden, allowing a buyer to both modernise and extend. The last time a house sold in this street for less than £850,000 was over 4 years ago. Little wonder then that interest was whipped up when the guide price of £650,000 was published. By setting such a low guide price, the auction company not only ensures buyer activity but also establishes itself as a firm that delivers results.

So the next time you see guide prices and their sale prices it is worth remembering that the only figure worth remembering is what the property sold for.