Auctions Barometer: Q1 2024

2024 has started well. In the Residential and Commercial property sectors, there seems to be a return of confidence, probably helped by the hold in interest rates. Catalogue numbers remain strong and registered bidder levels are also high. Our Fine Art and Chattels members report that 2024 has started buoyantly with plenty of bidders keen to get out of the blocks and acquire lots at all price levels and across all fields of collecting and furnishing.

Auction Barometer Q1 2024.jpg

This report is based on responses to a survey of Propertymark member agents conducted in Q1 2024. The analysis is based on data provided by around 30 agents across the UK. The report also contains a variety of third-party data including data from the Bank of England, the Office for National Statistics and HM Land Registry.

Economic outlook 

The Bank of England base rate remains unchanged at 5.25% in March 2024 but remains considerably higher than in earlier periods.

Inflation continues to trend downwards

Depending on the measure selected, inflation remained static or continued to trend downward in March 2024. Specifically, in the 12 months to March 2024, inflation was 3.8% as measured by CPIH, 3.2% as measured by CPI and 4.3% as measured by RPI.

Biggest issues facing auctioneers

We asked our members what issues they faced in Q1 2024. A variety of themes emerged. For example, some members reported staffing challenges including a ‘shortage of staff’,
difficulties ‘recruiting experienced qualified staff’ and ‘high wage costs’. Others reported that ‘managing client expectations’ was a key issue with a gap emerging between seller and buyer expectations.

However, by far and away the largest issue facing auctioneers/valuers in Q1 2024 relates to securing ‘good stock’ for sale:

“The biggest issue is getting the stock into auction and valuers are having to keep figures realistic whilst trying to manage client expectations.”

"Finding good items is proving very difficult; lots of bread and butter but meaningful items are elusive.”

“Availability of good stock [is an issue]… A lot of sellers are keeping their powder dry, and the market doesn’t appears to be as active as it was 12 months ago.”

Download the full report