The old adage that in a recession you should buy land seems to have held true at the latest Carter Jonas property auction.
For the first time ever, the firm chose Bath as its auction venue and auction manager Arthur Chambers believes proved to be a good idea.
Bidders queued to get into the room at the Francis Hotel with some intense competition for lots.
Many of the lots were parcels of land, including a third of an acre at Northleigh, Bradford on Avon that sold for £20,500, a price equivalent of £61,500 an acre. It was the second lot of the sale – the first, The Old School House at Bratton, had already sold strongly at £162,000, way beyond its top estimate of £130,000.
The strength of the mood meant that only one lot remained unsold at the end of the auction; a building plot in Dallas Road, Chippenham, with consent for two semi-detached houses and a guide price of £100,000 to £120,000.
Arthur Chambers, Auction Manager, said: “We sold 92 per cent of the 12 lots entered. One, a 5.8-acre plot of land at Wookey, near Wells, with a guide price of £40,000, sold prior to the event and perhaps gave us just a taste of the enthusiasm that was to come.
“It seemed half the village of Oakridge Lynch, near Stroud, had turned out to spectate or bid for 2.4 acres of pasture on the village edge which eventually sold for £34,000 (£14,160 per acre), well beyond the top estimate of £20,000.
“A 1.8 acre hidden orchard at Portishead achieved £29,000 (£16,100 per acre), healthily beyond the £25,000 top guide, while three lots made out of 12.7 acres of pasture at Clapton in Gordano, near Bristol, sold together for £129,000 (£10,157 an acre), to be used as grazing by a local dairy farmer.
“The last two lots in the sale were a cottage, Barrow Stile, and adjoining building plots at Pilton in Somerset which we combined as one to sell for £550,000, above their combined top estimate.
“The sale showed two things – the enthusiasm for land, with virtually everything sold, and the correct decision we made in taking our sale to Bath from its previous Swindon venue. But Swindon bidders did turn out to buy a house needing refurbishment for £69,000 against an estimate of £45,000 to £60,000, showing they did not feel alienated by the move.
“A real buzz in the room got the sale going at a fast pace and we have already decided we will be back in the same place on 2 March, 2010, for our next auction. After the success of the first, I’m expecting great things of the second.”