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Auction watch: November 2020.

24 Nov 2020 | 4 min

We’ve been regulars in the auction room for years, and while we can’t all gather in conference rooms and sports halls to do them in person at the moment, the auction market hasn’t ground to a halt.

We’ve been regulars in the auction room for years, and while we can’t all gather in conference rooms and sports halls to do them in person at the moment, the auction market hasn’t ground to a halt.

Auction houses have, like many of us in 2020, been discovering how technology can keep business moving, and auctions are now taking place online – with some feeling rather like Ebay, and others featuring an auctioneer calling proceeding ‘behind closed doors’, streamed live for people to bid in real time!

And while the auction itself may feel a bit different right now, we’ve continued to see the same fantastic mix of lots available to bid on. Here are a few of our picks that sold in the last month.

The first-time buyer

26 Pitt Street, Southport, Merseyside

This house was advertised as coming to the market for the first time in sixty years, after being in one family for generations.

It clearly needs lots of modernisation and redecoration, but could offer ambitious first-time owners the chance to really put their stamp on their space. As well as wanting a new kitchen and bathroom, it looks to need central heating installed and a probably a rewire; but it appears perfectly liveable while saving up to make the necessary improvements – although you may want to rip out those dated carpets sooner rather than later…

Luckily, having sold for just £124,000, saving for those upgrades could be relatively easy.

The family home

5 Castle Terrace, Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire

This impressive, Grade II-listed townhouse in Southwest Wales boasts five bedrooms over three storeys, and includes a double garage to the rear. Similarly-sized detached properties in the area command quite the premium as family or ‘forever’ homes, but Castle Terrace’s limited outside space appears to have similarly limited its ceiling price.

Still, seemingly in acceptable condition and just a short walk to the quaint town centre, this large period property could make a stunning home for those less interested in gardening, with space for holidaying guests and that all-important home office. Alternatively it has potential as a B&B, subject to planning.

The hammer went down at £151,000.

The development site

Land between 118-120 Manor Road, Queenborough, Kent

This patch of land, formerly a car park situated between two rows of terraces, seems an oddity – every house either side of it has its own garage and driveway. So why the original builders decided not to just continue the terrace is a bit of a mystery.

Anyway, their loss is the winning bidders’ gain – drawings in the listing show illustrations for three, three-storey homes, although planning permission has since lapsed. Three-bed terraces on Manor Road sell in the region of £190,000, so the sale price of this development land – just £160,000 – leaves plenty of breathing room for planning, building and selling costs.

The turnkey investment

10 Strain Avenue, Blackley, Manchester

The listing for this property shows a well-maintained family home, with gardens front and rear and a sitting tenant already in place. This is the perfect example of the kind of investment that – on first impressions, at least – needs no immediate outlay beyond the purchase price and associated fees.

It sold for £140,000, which seems like a fair price for a property of this size in Blackley.

The big project

33 Henry Road, Shirley, Southampton

This time-warp semi needs total modernisation, with an open-plan layout and interior décor that just screams the Seventies. It has layout issues; there are three bedrooms (but one is only accessible through another), and the bathroom is situated on the ground floor.

It’s a real start-from-scratch job, but the house just three doors down sold in 2019 for £230,000, so there’s potential to add value. That house has been extended at the rear, but still reconfigured as a two-bed with the bathroom upstairs, despite the extra space.

Short of completing an extension, the secret to success in this# project may lie in repositioning the stairs and reconfiguring the upstairs layout. Nice though that extra bedroom is, local buyers seem to value spacious rooms with a high-quality finish rather more.

The winning bidder paid £150,000.

The conversion opportunity

Scarrington Methodist Church, Scarrington, Nottinghamshire

Dating from 1818, this former church’s guide price was just £50,000. But it ultimately sold for more than double that, at £111,000.

Why? Location, location, location! Scarrington is a highly sought-after village where the average house price is almost £550,000.

The church has an impressive frontage, and – subject to all the usual caveats about planning – could become a quaint (albeit cosy) home. Other potential uses include as a high-end wine bar or delicatessen, catering to discerning local tastes; Scarrington currently lacks a local watering hole.

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