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Online and traditional auction houses slug it out for dominance

The rivalry between online and traditional property auction companies continues apace with one high profile player from each camp claiming major successes.

In the online corner, Network-E, the platform offered by Network Auctions for its estate agent partner agents, claims it has raced ahead in profitability this year despite the difficult market conditions.

Figures released this week show a total of £4,184,000 has been raised via the online platform with commission of £74,890 being paid to partner agents. 


This compares to 2017 figures which saw the online auction arm raise a total of £1,561,000 and commissions paid of £19,861.

Fees paid to partner agents for traditional ballroom auctions are also forecast to beat 2017 figures with £138,600 being paid following the February and April sales, against a total of £200,387 from a six auction programme in 2017.

“We are delighted to share the success of auction with our partner agents and the fees we pay in commission shows that. We have continued to deliver a market beating sales success rate in traditional auctions of 80 per cent in 2018 against an industry average of 65 per cent” says Toby Limbrick, managing director.

“We are excited by the development and success of our online auctions and the bidder interest we are attracting. We are always keen to talk to partner agents and welcome new estate agents who may be thinking of auction to join us” he adds.

Meanwhile traditional operator Auction House says it has continued its strong performance in 2018, with cumulative results more than six per cent ahead of 2017.

This brings the group’s results since the start of the year to 1,358 lots sold from 1,830 offered – a success rate of 74 per cent - and raising more than £173m in the process. 

Commenting on the year so far, Auction House founding director Roger Lake says: “At a time when the property market is going through a challenging period, we are pleased to report another strong set of figures, which are still ahead of last year’s results. Some of our auction rooms have been delivering success rates over 85 per cent - which in this current climate is an amazing achievement.

“The first few months of 2018 have been better than expected, and the auction sector is yet to suffer the stock shortage being experienced by estate agents across the country. Demand is strongest for properties requiring refurbishment and renovation, where we see a healthy demand in all our auction rooms nationwide.”

However, Lake is cautious about the summer months, saying that further challenges lay ahead. 

“We are operating in uncertain times. The winds of change are often seen first in auction rooms, and the reality is that vendor expectations may need to soften if we are to deliver the required results.

“The northern half of the country seems to be bearing up better than the southern half - but rather than being only for traders and regular investors, auctions are now open to all buyers. So we see opportunities on the horizon for shrewd buyers to pick up some bargains in the next few months.”


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