September Property Auction Market Update

August is historically an abnormal month in property auctions. Often attributable to the “summer effect” on auction sales, volumes are some of the lowest of the entire year. They rarely give a very accurate insight into trends.

In the auction world, August tends to be the un-meaty filling between a busy July and in many cases a much busier September.

The last couple of years have been far from normal anyway. But, based on the data available to us (covering the majority of property auction houses in the UK) exactly what happened in the property auctions market in August 2022?

No prizes for guessing – not a lot of lots

As has become a predictable seasonal trend lots offered in August 2022 were well down in July. There were 676 lots offered in August (at all types of sales) compared to around 1,800 in July. This made August the second quietest month over the last year (after January 2022) and marginally quieter than August 2021.

Little and large – who are the key players?

The property auctions business is inclusive. It comprises of large auction houses with frequent sales, and smaller operations often with less frequent ones.

It’s important to note that a significant number of auction houses did not (and do not usually) hold sales in August, and that is bound to have an impact on the data.

Online, Auction House offered the largest number of lots with 295 listings. That was only around 10% down on the number they offered in July and considerably more than the 63 they offered in August 2021.

In the live/live streamed arena, Barney Estates offered the largest number of lots at 58. The top slot across the year is invariably taken by Barnard Marcus.

Online dominates the market in August

Covid turbocharged a trend towards online auctions which had otherwise proved to be a bit of a slow burner. Typically this year, month-on-month, lots offered at online sales have been at least twice those offered on a live/live streamed basis. But in August 2022 online surged ahead with 598 lots offered compared to just 78 live/live streamed.

Based on the data available to us the majority of online lots were offered by two main auction houses: Auction House offered 295 lots and Allsop Residential 144 lots.

Sales rates dip, but only marginally

It is probably true to say that individual sellers are unconcerned with the number of lots offered each month. More so with the likelihood that their property will actually sell.

In this regard August also proved a slightly trickier month to sell: Sales rates were 67% overall in August 2022 compared with the circa 75-80% that has been usual over the last 12 months.

Performance rates, if it is right to call them that, varied from Connect UK who sold 100% of their lots (online) to London City Auctions who sold just 38% (also online).

An interesting sideline is that there has been practically no difference in the sales rates at online and at live/live streamed auctions over the last year: 79% of lots have sold at live/live streamed sales compared to 77% online.

Amounts raised: Ups as well as downs

The amount of money raised in auctions is normally of interest for several reasons: It indicates not only the ‘busyness’ of the auction rooms but also perhaps the busyness of, and direction of, the property market overall.

In August 2022 amounts raised followed a predictable trend – they were lower than July and also the lowest of the year.

In August 2022 approx. £87.5m was raised from online sales compared to £158m in July. However, this was a 40% increase compared to August 2021 when £62.9m was raised.

Live/live streamed sales were very notably down with just £7.3 million raised in total compared to £146.7m this July and £121.5m in July 2021.


So what might we learn from the property auction market in August whilst recognising that it is normally anything but a trendsetting month?

The slowdown that typically marks August (although it is not usually the slowest month of the year) was repeated in August 2022. There were fewer sales, fewer lots (and therefore less choice for buyers) and less money was raised.

At the end of the day, however, the chances of selling your property at auction (and presumably the chances of buying one) are not that much different even at slower times of the year.

The sharp drop in live/live streamed sales is most likely a peculiar ‘August anomaly’ this month. Online selling continues to be a force to be reckoned with however.

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