January Property Auction Market Update

Seasonal Slowdown Fails To Materialise


December is traditionally a quiet time in the wider property market, as buyers are preoccupied with Christmas parties, Christmas shopping (and the thought of paying for it all) and everything slows down for the festive break. That has certainly proved to be the case in the wider market this year with a distinct shortage of buyers, properties for sale sticking on the market and widespread price cutting.

The auction property market doesn’t tend to follow the wider property market of course. (Though tends to be a barometer for it.) With that it mind let’s examine what happened in the residential auctions market in December 2023.

Market remains brisk

Following a very busy November, December 2023 proved to be almost (but not quite) close to a record month for properties offered at auction …. as well as money raised.

Just over 3,000 lots were offered at the sales we track in December. That meant that at the year’s end it became one of the busiest months of 2023 after the sizable 4,100+ lots offered in September.

Looking at the last year overall it seems a fair assumption to make that in times when the wider property market is slowing down the auctions are becoming more popular as a way of selling and/or buying.

Online sales particularly busy

This month the online sales were much more numerous than live/live streamed sales – for every property offered at a live sale approximately two were offered online. Maybe the winter weather encourages bidders to bid from the comfort of their home or office? Either way the trend towards selling property online, which really took off during the Covid pandemic, doesn’t seem like it will reverse any time soon.

Which were the busiest sales?

The largest sales were held by Allsop Residential who raised £119m from a catalogue of 600 lots held across two days and the Auction House network who raised £57.5m from 549 lots offered. Savills raised £37.7m from 178 lots offered and Barnard Marcus raised £24.6m from 240 lots offered.

Notably, West Midlands’ regional auction house Bond Wolfe was also amongst the leaders this month – perhaps reminding buyers that the property market is not all about the south east. Bond Wolfe raised £19.6m from 146 mixed lots offered – and achieved an impressive 90% success rate in the process.

Leasehold Self Contained First Floor Flat in Bayswater, London Sold Through Allsop Residential Auctions (January 2024)

Percentages sold hold up well

Following a very strong November where the sales rate was around 75% percentages sold were decent enough in December – although only slightly above what has become average over the last year. On average around 71% of all properties offered at auction sold. A good number of sales achieved sales rates of 80-90% and some even sold all their lots.

Whether these strong sales rates are due to buyer interest or as a result of properties being priced to sell is hard to say but they are certainly not to be sniffed at.

Although it may not be that significant there was around a 7% better sales rate at live sales than online this month.

Amount raised strong, even impressive for the times

The amount raised at the auctions we track in December 2023 proved to be the third highest amount of the year with around £398m raised. Although this was well behind September 2023 it was in line with what was raised in the traditionally busy spring months – and could be considered impressive for a dreary December.

The average cost of a residential property sold at the auctions we track was around £130,000 in December – and pretty much the same whether the property was sold online or live. Although this was down on November’s £158,000 it was very much in line with auction prices over the last year. While most indices are suggesting that house prices are falling slightly (and more so in London) this does not seem to be reflected in auction pricing.


November 2023 proved to be a very buoyant month for the residential auctions market and some might have expected December would be slower, reflecting both the season and the slower wider property market. That didn’t seem to be the case this December. Sellers, buyers and auctioneers will likely have been more than satisfied with the results. Sellers in particular will have been very pleased that the auctions enabled them to dispose of their properties in a lacklustre wider market.

It will be interesting to see whether this healthy auctions market continues into January or drops off over the rest of the winter as is often the case.

One factor to keep an eye on will be the progress of interest rates. Actual mortgage rates are now moderating and, after December’s hold, many experts are predicting the interest rate could be cut as early as this spring. That could help warm up the market. Also relevant is the early March Budget – with some experts forecasting that there could be pre-election goodies to encourage home buyers.

Check out our monthly updated statistics below, courtesy of the Essential Information Group (click on the key colours to highlight / dehighlight):

Live / Live Streamed Property Auctions Data

Online Property Auctions Data