[*Auctioneer predicts busy autumn ahead * (https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/PROPERTY-CRISIS-Auctioneer-predicts-busy.4497813.jp)
Published Date: 17 September 2008
By Staff reporter
A PROPERTY auctioneer has said that he expects to see a significant increase in business in coming months as banks move in to repossess homes and homeowners are forced to sell their houses quickly.
Nicky Gibson, land and property manager at Wilsons Auctions, said that because of the summer break for the courts, repossession cases had been delayed but would now resume with the return of the magistrates courts.
And he said that many wealthy investors were waiting for the market to fall further before moving in to “clean up”.
At a recent auction in Portadown – attended by the News Letter – buyers were cautious, with only three properties out of 30 sold on the night.
The three separate properties sold for £282,000 between them – a figure which would not have bought one terraced house in some parts of the Province during the height of the property boom last year.
Mr Gibson said that sellers at auction were dropping prices well ahead of estate agents.
“The majority of private vendors are continuing to market property at over-inflated prices through estate agents,” he said.
"But at an auction, the buyer only pays one bid higher than the last bidder.
“We have seen the number of buyers at our auctions grow so much that we are finding it difficult to meet the demand.”
And he said that the number of repossessed houses coming through the auction was increasing.
At a Wilsons’ property auction in Mallusk last week, 21 of the 49 properties were entered by banks, trustees or property brokers – the majority of them repossessions.
“With the increase of repossessions in Northern Ireland, we have secured two major contracts to dispose of repossessed properties at auction,” he said.
"We have a 100 per cent sale record so far and more mortgage companies and banks are wanting to use us to sell repossessed property.
"But because of the market being the way it is, it’s not something that many people have experienced in their lifetime so it’s hard to say – it’s even rare for me to see the market the way it is.
"But a solicitor I spoke to said that there normally is a lag in repossessions over the summer because the courts are off and then that increases in the autumn.
“In Studds Gazette, I’ve noticed an increase over recent months in the number of repossessions in Northern Ireland being published.”
And Mr Gibson said that the actual price that houses are selling for is far below the asking prices estate agents are publishing.
"You’ll see in the papers that houses have only dropped 15 or 20 per cent.
If it was double that we would only be lucky.
“Prices obviously vary across different areas, but in an area like Craigavon where there are a lot of houses, builders are selling them for £100,000 where before they were selling them for £195,000.
“It’s not exactly a 50 per cent drop but it’s not far off it, although that wouldn’t be the same as on the Lisburn Road or in Holywood.”
He said that his firm was preparing for a substantial increase in business over coming months.
“I think the auction is going to get busier as more pressure is applied to people and things get tighter – people may not have another option but to sell and sell quickly.
“There will be people who will say ‘I need money fast’ and put their house up for auction to offload it quickly.”
But he said that while developers were pleading poverty, many had huge reserves of cash.
“There are people out there with money who got out at the right time, walked away from Northern Ireland because of the way the market was going and when the market hits rock bottom they will come back and clean up.
“The wiser men out there still have the money.”