Clive Emson Auctions on Price Sensitive Market Conditions, Forecasts, Commercial Sales and More…

We put some questions to James Emson, managing director at Clive Emson – market leading residential and commercial property auctioneers to corporate entities, independent estate agents, private clients and statutory bodies.

James Emson - Clive Emson AuctioneersWhat trends have you observed within the residential sector at Clive Emson during the first quarter of 2024?

The main factor highlighted in the first quarter is that the market is very price sensitive. If a property appears to be slightly overpriced, there is often little or no interest.

The other factor affecting the residential sector is interest rates. Consequently, some buyers are slightly more nervous to commit to a purchase.  However, a great deal of these buyers have bought properties post-auction.

I think that – as interest rates since 2008 have been exceptionally low – it is a period of re-adjustment due to the fact that some buyers do not remember operating in a high interest rate environment.

Can you highlight some notable sales at Clive Emson so far this year?

There have been a number of notable sales this year…

One in particular was a former public loo in Cornwall which has a number of restrictions on the title. It was guided at £20,000 – however, there was fierce bidding and the property achieved a sale price of £169,000.

Another notable sale this year on the residential investment side was a block of 3 flats in Cliftonville guided at £190,000, producing just over £16,000 per annum, that sold for £326,000.

Another notable sale this year on the commercial side was a vacant double unit in Sittingbourne guided at £325,000+ that eventually sold for £566,000.

A former venue known as the Lighthouse Inn with sea-views – in need of complete refurbishment or redevelopment in Capel Le Ferne – was guided at £600,000 and sold after great interest at £797,000.

An owner occupied house known as Oakdenne in Wickford, Essex guided at £300,000 plus sold for £470,000 after two competing bidders were determined to buy the property.

What are your forecasts for the property auction market for the remainder of 2024 and into 2025?

I think for the remainder of 2024 the market will be affected by interest rates, especially the buy to let market.

With regards to owner occupied stock and the unusual lots we deal with, there is still strong interest. The properties that are in need of refurbishment do have strong interest – especially as building costs both for labour and materials seem to be lower relative to the past 3 years.

We have over the past few years seen a growing trend in private occupiers and first time buyers which, for the residential market, will grow over the remainder of this year and into the next if the current trends continue. We have also seen a lot of first time investors coming into the market in the first quarter of the year and, as we market our latest auction, this seems to be continuing.

What are your thoughts on the expected performance of the commercial auction sector, particularly in segments such as office and retail, for the current year?

We have seen good interest in commercial lots, especially on the investment side.

The majority of the commercial market is really dependant on location, footfall and regeneration within local areas.

We have had some very good sales of some smaller industrial units in the past year.  In most cases, buyers have been setting up their own businesses or looking to expand.

We have also had an increase in interest in some office blocks from companies who had previously downsized due to working from home policies, however are now looking to bring staff back into the offices.

Clive Emson is also well-recognised for selling land and development plots. How’s this sector faring in the current auction market space?

There is still strong interest in self-build development plots, along with smaller developments of up to 10 units.

Land lots have always historically attracted strong interest.  This hasn’t changed and I don’t think it will in the near future.  It always amazes me the usage people want them for – including equestrian, livestock or as allotments more recently. There is also good interest in any lots that may have hope value for the future.

Have you noticed any discernible geographical patterns or trends in recent years?

Over the past few years, one of the geographical patterns we have seen is that purchasers have been looking for more remote or coastal areas – as working from home was looking like it was here to stay (instead of commuting).  They were not too worried if it took an extra hour to get to work, as they were only going to offices for 1-2 days a week.

The stock we’ve sold in coastal areas has achieved prices that we hadn’t seen before. However, this level of interest has somewhat reduced more recently and we have seen more now trying to move back towards towns with better rail access or closer to London.

Considering the shift to a higher interest rate environment, how has the auction sector and its buyer profile adjusted?

The profile of the buyers hasn’t really changed due to interest rates.  However, it has taken some adjustment as people get used to the interest rates being increased.

However, the current rates of interest – although higher than recent times – do come more in line with how some of the seasoned buyers remember them from 15 years ago.

One of the changes in buyers’ profile we’ve seen is a great deal more first time buyers who like the certainty of purchase without the chance of being gazumped. Having the legal packs ready before the auction also means that they do not need to wait 3 months to find out if there are any issues. The one thing that has helped this is finance companies specialising in auction sales, along with the option of extended completions.

What are your perspectives on the potential implications of a Labour government overseeing the economy for residential property investment and development?

Realistically, whoever wins the election will no doubt have various promises and alterations to legislation and the economy.

However, whilst I am sure that there will be market influences within their individual policies, it’s too early to predict how it will affect the market.

Hope this question is not too intrusive, but it would be interesting to know why Clive Emson do not use Rightmove to market your auction properties?

This is partly due to the fact that as we work with joint agents and a large number of properties are already on Rightmove.

We are on most of the main portals, including Zoopla and On the Market, alongside a number of smaller portals and specialist land sites.

Where can individuals find more information about the auctions you conduct?

Further information on the auctions can be found at where there are all the current available lots along with our guide to buying by auction.