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Online property auctions are overtaking ballrooms - claim

Auctions are increasingly moving online but firms are becoming concerned about chasing payments from buyers after the hammer falls.

Research among members of NAVA Propertymark on how they conduct auctions showed three quarters have seen a shift to online.

This is based on non-live formats but this quarter’s auction barometer from Propertymark also found live stream overtook ballroom to take second place in popularity.


Propertymark attributed this shift to the pandemic and the advantages in terms of cost and inclusivity.

In-person viewing of lots remained the most widespread method used by auctioneers, according to the June auction barometer, while still imagery overtook video this quarter in popularity, Properytmark said.

When it comes to the biggest issues currently facing professionals in the auctioneering industry, several responses related to obtaining payment from buyers post-auction.

Trevor Palethorpe, chairman of NAVA Propertymark, said: “Our latest report has revealed that online auctions, particularly non-live formats, have gained popularity and surpassed traditional ballroom auctions, indicating a potential long-term shift away from in-person auctions.

“Our auctioneers reported challenges with obtaining payment from buyers post-auction being a significant concern. Non-payment not only increases administrative burdens but also exposes purchasers to potential lawsuits.

“In the property auction sector, it is interesting to see that a significant minority of auctioneers are using the new conditional auction practices, with varying reservation periods and fees. 
“Our property auctioneers also highlighted the need for an awareness campaign to dispel misconceptions about sale by auction among the public, and strongly emphasised their duty of care to both vendors and purchasers.”


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