Auctions Barometer: March 2023

The very first NAVA Propertymark member report outlines what’s going on for the sector and, as expected, it shows members are struggling with the decision to return to in-person auctions or to remain online.

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This report is based on responses to a survey of NAVA Propertymark members conducted between 30 January–20 February 2023.

Auction Practices

We asked NAVA Propertymark members in our first quarterly survey, how they conduct their auctions and facilitate the viewing of lots for sale. Top of the list when it comes to modes of auction is online (not-live). It was followed by Ballroom and then live stream auctions. 

Several members noted that they have not yet settled on a permanent method of holding their auctions since the end of the pandemic. Online and livestream certainly have their advantages in terms of cost and inclusivity, but ballroom auctions still appear to be quite popular.

The shift to virtual auctions has certainly increased access, however, it comes with its own issues, such as the detailed viewing of lots. Ultimately, each auctioneer will decide what is best for their customers and company to future-proof the sector. 

The report also highlights the need to promote the sale and purchase of our nation’s homes by auction with research showing prices achieved at auction are regularly as high, if not higher, than a sale via estate agents. More work needs to be done to educate everyone on the benefits sale by auction can bring. Of course, the best way to do this is for agents to train as an auctioneer and become qualified. 

Importantly, conversations about the green credentials of auctions have been around for some years. It is so pleasing to see NAVA Propertymark is now in a good position to champion this image of auctions, bringing the idea of sale and purchase by auction to a new ‘green’ generation.

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Trevor Palethorpe President and Chair | NAVA Propertymark

Green credentials: The biggest opportunity for auctioneers?

In an age of increasing public awareness and acceptance of our impact on the environment, could the promotion of the green credentials of auctions bring a new generation of customers to the industry?

Wearing vintage clothing, up-cycling, and the use of marketplaces on social media have all risen in popularity over the past decade. As the UK Government aims to reach its target of net zero by 2050, encouraging the public to go green by going to an auction, is certainly another worthy contribution to that end. 

It also helps keep items from landfill, so is a double boost to the environment. Analysis by Antiques Are Green estimated that a modern chest of drawers bought on the high street will have an average carbon footprint over its lifetime that is 16 times higher than a Georgian chest of drawers purchased and reused. 

The main issue is a lack of public interest. Philip Allwood FNAVA, Partner at Moore Allen & Innocent auctioneers commented: 'almost anything in the home can be sold at auction. The trouble is that people just don’t realise it'. 

Download the full report