News: Allsop predicts rise in home repossessions in 2013

Tue, 22 Jan 13

Allsop Residential auctions has been named the UK’s top residential auctioneer after selling a total of 1,649 homes under the hammer last year, raising nearly £314m. Just under half of all Allsop lots offered in 2012 were repossessions (sales on behalf of mortgagees, receivers, administrators and liquidators).

This was only a small yearly increase (1.2%) on volumes in 2012 but Allsop said it expects ‘high’ volumes of distressed properties this year. In a statement, the firm said: “Many borrowers in potential difficulty with mortgage debt have been spared repossession or forced sale by a combination of low interest rates and continued forbearance by lenders. Some are surviving on short-term finance arrangements through credit cards or pay-day loans. These circumstances are unsustainable and we foresee further high volumes of distressed sales this year.”

The statement went on: “2012 saw over £2bn of domestic mortgage debt acquired by loan book specialists. As yet, these buyers have not started to sell assets in the auction rooms. Inevitably, this will happen as impaired loans are addressed.”

Another trend the firm has noticed is for pricier properties, over £1m, to be put into the sale room. Allsop also said there was a ‘softening’ of average lot prices in areas regarded as economically fragile, offset against improved demand and values in London and the South-East. Prices realised within the M25 increased by one fifth.

Gary Murphy, partner and auctioneer for Allsop, said: “Despite the difficulties posed by a double-dip recession from the start of the year, the continued drought of mortgage finance for many first-time buyers and the volatility of market confidence exacerbated by further crises in the Eurozone, our auction rooms have remained reassuringly active. As always, however, pricing is key.

“Confidence in the UK residential market has centred on London and the South-East. Regional conurbations experiencing lower unemployment levels and sustained tenant demand have also drawn interest. But 2012 has seen a continued swing away from the more fragile locations, resulting in lower average lot sizes in these areas and the consequent need for sensitive pricing.”

Allsop’s success rate for last year was 88% – way ahead of the industry standard of 74% – with 1,900 residential lots offered.

See also: Home Asking Price Index

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