19 March 2015

Over 2,300 houses have been sold at auction in Northern Ireland since 2010 according to Osborne King citing figures released by the Essential Information Group, which also reveal that £49 million worth of residential property was sold last year alone locally, representing a staggering 800% increase within the last five years.  Osborne King is preparing to hold its first auction of the year on Friday 27 March at the Holiday Inn, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast and is bringing 42 lots with a combined overall maximum reserve value of £3.6 million to the market. 

The auction catalogue features an interesting assortment of property ranging from an apartment complex on the Beersbridge Road in Belfast that has a maximum reserve price of £350,000 to a residential development site outside Markethill priced at a maximum reserve of £3,000. Prospective buyers will also have the opportunity to bid on a modern self-contained industrial unit within Whiterock Business Park, Springfield Road, Belfast (maximum reserve of £300,000) or on two commercial properties in Hill Street within the heart of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, one an office building, the other a café investment opportunity, priced at £150,000 and £110,000 respectively (maximum reserves). Buyers seeking opportunities beyond Belfast may be interested in a retail unit in Larne is priced at £50,000 (maximum reserve), The Mallard Bar, Ballinamallard, Co. Fermanagh (maximum reserve of £75,000) or a couple of three-bed townhouses in Dromore, which have a maximum reserve price of £70,000 each.    

During the past three and a half  years, Osborne King has sold property to the value of over £30 million across 12 auctions and was one of the first of the established local property firms to engage with auctions with  many others following suit as Mark Carron, head of the company’s auction team, pointed out, “Following the credit crunch and subsequent recession, we came to the conclusion that auctions would be  an effective means of stimulating activity in an otherwise stagnant market, and while our first auction back in 2011 was a fairly modest event with only 27 lots on offer, the process has gathered momentum and auctions are now an integral part of our business.  We have sold everything from pubs, hotels and agricultural land to offices, shops and townhouses achieving a 96% sales rate overall. And other local property firms have also seen the merit in holding their own auctions with the result that property sold at auction has increased by over 900% over the past five years, according to recent data published by the Essential Information Group.”

Alluding to recent negative remarks concerning auctions, Mr Carron commented, “Despite some detractors criticising auctions as being nothing more than fire sales or a dumping ground for distressed assets, it should also be noted that most of the properties we have sold at auction had previously failed to sell on the open market. Nor does selling by auction mean that the vendor is going to get a much lower price for his or her property than via traditional means. In most instances we achieved almost double the sale price for properties that had been marketed by private treaty for almost a year, which was great news for the vendor!”

From the buyer’s perspective, auctions are usually a more efficient, transparent and less time-consuming means of acquiring a property be they a first-time buyer, buy-to-let investor or developer.  Mark Carron explained further, “It’s not simply a matter of coming along on auction day, holding up your registration card, bidding on a specific property and taking your chances on a successful outcome.  Prior to auction day, we will have been able to provide prospective buyers with as much relevant information as possible including full title relating to each property, which is available to download from our website, in addition to viewing the property itself.  This helps to make the process as transparent as possible by allowing people to obtain the information they need and take a considered approach prior to making a bid”.

Full details of each property within Osborne King’s current auction catalogue are available on request or by downloading direct from the company’s website 

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