£10.5 million success as Carter Jonas hones auctions business
Date of Article
Dec 20 2010

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The first full year in operation for the Carter Jonas auctions department has brought sales well in excess of £10.5 million – and a carefully honed calendar for 2011.

Chartered surveyor Arthur Chambers, who moved to the firm’s Chippenham office in 2009 with the express brief to manage and grow the auctions business, said the success of this year’s sales had proved the worth of the venues now in use in Bath and Oxford.

“There had been auction activity across the firm in the past but the sales achieved this year of £10,573,500, largely through auctions in Bath and Oxford show how the choice of venue has a real influence, even when the lots are drawn from a much wider geographic area,” Arthur explained.

“One of the beauties of auctions for vendors is the speed with which properties can be sold. In fact, for our latest auction in Bath three sold strongly before the event as the concentration of potential buyers for each focused the attention of those who were really serious.

“Two of the lots, a pasture with stables in Bath and a clay pit with adjoining land in Dorset, sold well beyond their guide prices while a farmhouse at Horton, in the Vale of Pewsey, Wiltshire, performed strongly after a hectic round of viewings.

“Many of the properties we have offered during 2010 have brought really enthusiastic bidding. We have had some pasture lots and village properties with land that seemed to bring out half the village to watch as the other half competed to buy.

“At our last Bath sale, on December 15, 7.6 acres at Compton Martin, close to Chew Valley lakes to the south west of Bristol, sold for £86,000, equivalent to £11,315 per acre.

“Berkshire and Oxfordshire land prices have been soaring, with land close to Newbury reaching £25,000 an acre for one very special lot in July and £20,200 for another in December.

“In December we achieved £65,000 per acre equivalent for amenity land in the village of Hornton and £35,256 per acre for pasture in Noke, both close to Oxford.”

Kit Harding, national head of auctions for Carter Jonas, said the excellent results showed how keen buyers were to invest, seeing land as a safe haven for their cash, and how easily owners could capitalise on their asset if they wished to release its value for other projects.

“Buying land has always had its enthusiasts and people living in rural communities often express a desire to own land close to their homes,” he explained.

In all, Carter Jonas held seven auctions in Bath and Oxford with four further individual sales in Newbury, Northampton, and Yorkshire. Next year there will be sales in Bath on March 23, May 25, July 20, October 5, and December 7 with Oxford dates set for April 5, June 21, October 18, and December 13. Bath enjoyed a 73 per cent success rate this year while in Oxford it was 92 per cent.

“Part of the appeal of our auctions is that we find a mix of interesting lots, which gets a good attendance and a real buzz in the room,” adds Arthur.

“This galvanises bidders, who don’t want to see a catalogue of hundreds of distressed or weak lots but are really interested in specific property types that are worth their attention. We are constantly hunting quality rather than quantity and it’s an approach that’s working as we already have a variety of interesting for our first 2011 auctions.”