London Property Auction Watch Jan 2008

For those looking to buy property in London, the London property auctions are a must. I listed forthcoming January 08 property auctions last week, and the only one I found at the time that was London based, is being held by Erinaceous at Kensington Town Hall on Jan 31st. I wrote about properties for sale at auction by order of the mortgagee, in an earlier post this year as well. I suspect we will see a rise in repossessed property in auctions during the coming months. There are some in the list below.

I am always on the look out for a property bargain, so as a result I have always kept an eye out to see if there is one to be had in the many auctions that are held around the capital each month.

By the way, don’t concentrate solely on London property auctions, as you can sometimes find London property for sale in auctions held outside London as well.

Anyway Erinaceous have put up their online property auction catalogue now, and I took a gander at what’s on offer at this auctioneers first 2008 residential property auction.

London Property Prices?

Prices for property in London aren’t cheap. Most people who live here pay through the nose for the privilege of living in one of the most expensive places in the world. According to Land Registry figures, the average price of property in the London region has risen by 11.4% (Jan 01 – Jan 07 all property types). The average price of a flat in London was just over £163,000 in Jan 01. In Jan 07 that price had risen to close to £286,000.

We get conflicting reports of a slowdown in the rate at which property is rising in London, and mutterings of a ‘house price crash’, but as yet, we’ve not really seen or heard much ‘talk’ of an actual drop in prices, though I suspect this has more to do with keeping confidence in the housing market from plummeting.

What I Look For At Auction

I look almost exclusively at London flats, as that is the market with which I am familiar. It is a market rife with young professionals, and of course first time buyers looking to get there foot on the first rung of the property Ladder. I understand their tastes, likes and dislikes.

The motivation amongst young professionals stems from the Thatcher era, when the working classes especially were encouraged to buy their own homes as a means of social mobility. Your home was your prime asset, something that would increase in value, and provide security.

Of course the desire to own your own home could also have stemmed from that old saying about Englishmen and their castles, but since castles belonged to rich bastards, I don’t think it was aimed at the common man, so I’ll stick with my theory that claims Maggie as the source of the increase in property ownership in this country over the past 25 years. (ESRC has a graph if you want to take a look).

Margaret Thatcher (and her government) got people wanting to buy their house. She set up discount schemes for council tenants to help them afford a deposit, she created the market whereby people on low incomes could use 3, 4, 5 times their annual income to calculate the size of mortgage they could borrow; she gave people the right to buy.

Enough With The History…

Moving swiftly on. I also concentrate on areas of London with which I am very familiar, having either worked or lived in those areas. This means I particularly look at property in the five south London boroughs of Bromley, Croydon, Lambeth, Lewisham and Southwark. I have been known to venture outside of these areas though into places like Wandsworth and Greenwich.

Below are the ones I’ve picked out for further research. I am to view them (maybe not all) but before that I’ll be crunching the numbers to see if they likely that they will sell below the current market value or not, what the costs of any refurbishment will be and if there is any rental potential or whether it’s better to sell on at a profit. What I will do for those that look promising is compile an Investment Property Report that outlines my overall ‘feel’ for the investment property purchase.

It’s been a while since I have done any actual property investing in London (I told you, prices are high!!! and the £30,000 plus deposit ain’t sitting in my back pocket. If it was I would be on a beach right now). The paper exercise helps me to keep in touch with the goings on in the market place from my little corner, and provides fodder for this blog. It’s kinda like paper trading stocks and shares. Practice your forecasting skills and you get better at spotting the good trades ready for the real thing. So what’s available that looks interesting?

Property Starting Under £80000

Only one of these that fits the bill. It’s in Greenwich, London, SE10 and is a 1 bed ground floor leaseholf flat for sale by order of the mortgagees. Don’t think I will be viewing this one but it would be interesting to see what it fetches on the day.

Flats in London Starting Around £100,000

There’s a couple here, both of which are for sale by order of the mortgagees

  • Brigstock Rd, Thornton Heath, Surrey, CR7 1 bed leasehold (Guide £100000 +)
  • Arran Rd, Catford, London, SE6 Studio leasehold (Guide £85 – £100000)

That’s it for this week looking at property auctions during January. Remember, if you’re looking to buy an auction flat in London, you’re going to have to do your research using all the tools available to you. Property auctions are interesting places to visit but don’t go there and bid without knowing what you’re doing or knowing how much you are going to bid for the property you want to buy.

There is lots of information on the net that can help you buy at auction, some good, some rubbish. One publication I would recommend is Property Auction News (PAN) which has been around for a very long time and has a good reputation. I will say this, don’t buy access to property databases unless you have thoroughly checked out the company that’s selling it. There are databases that have free access but the list of property auctioneers that list with them may be limited. Auction lists are available free of charge on the net if you know where to look.

Also, pretty much every property auctioneer now publishes an online auction catalogue, usually 2-3 weeks prior to the sale. There are sites where you can watch the actual property auction live online whilst the bidding is going on. Don’t worry that you only know about the available properties less than a month before they go on sale. There is a whole property auction service industry geared to work at pace. The solicitors, financiers and surveyors all get their jobs done in double quick time so that you can have all the info you need to make a reasonable decision on a buy. Read the legal pack that comes with the auction lot, get your deposit finance in place and away you go.

If you do it right, you can use property auctions to climb the property ladder, create a portfolio of property investments that could soon see you become a property millionaire.

Ya Never Know!


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  1. Debramora /

    Prices for home in London are definitely not cheap. Accg to a house buying solicitor I know, U.K. property prices rose to your two-calendar year high in Sept as demand grabbed in London plus the property market confirmed signs of peaking

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