Auctions Barometer: Q3 2023

Despite inflation moving in the right direction, economic uncertainty continues to affect auction markets and beyond with many members expressing concerns. In the property auction sector, catalogue numbers have continued to grow substantially, although high numbers of properties continue to be withdrawn prior to auction. In the commercial auction sector sales and instructions are experiencing a notable surge propelled by corporate insolvencies spanning various sectors.

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This report is based on responses to a survey of Propertymark member agents conducted in Q4 2023. Analysis is based on data provided by around 30 agents across the UK and a variety of third-party data including data from the Bank of England, ONS and HM Land Registry.

Economic outlook

The autumn budget delivered a range of relatively upbeat news including a reduction in National Insurance rates from 12% to 10% and an increase in the National Minimum wage from £10.42 to £11.44 per hour.

Further good news is apparent in the continued downward pressure on inflation making it tempting to conclude that the economic outlook is largely positive. However, it should be noted that the glut of household savings amassed during the pandemic has been largely spent, the cost-of-living crisis continues to loom large and UK productivity remains anaemic. Clearly, the UK economy is not out of the woods yet.

Member views on regulation

All Propertymark members comply with our rules and code of conduct, and our Principal, Partner, or Director (PPD) member businesses are fully regulated. Last quarter, our auctioneers reported that lack of regulation was one of the biggest concerns facing the sector.

This quarter we asked our members why auctioneers should be regulated. Many pointed to concerning practices and behaviours in some parts of the sector, which cause issues for sellers and impact upon the reputation of the sector overall. Most felt that some form of regulation was required to address these issues.

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