Online rural property sales find favour as auction rooms remain closed

Rural property purchasers are swapping auction rooms for the virtual saleroom while restrictions on public gatherings remain in force.

Barn at Skillgate Lane.

Rural property sales by auction are a popular alternative to a private treaty, but have not been held in their traditional format for nearly 12 months.

Over that period Carter Jonas’ rural team have noticed an increase in the willingness to adopt technology designed for bidders to buy farms, buildings and land online.

The firm’s Associate Partner, Jack Mitchell, said: “Auctions have always offered certainty, in that once reserve price is met or exceeded, contracts for the sale are deemed to have exchanged with completion normally taking place within four weeks. This has generated significant demand, particularly during lockdown.

“The online platform is quite new but is proving popular as buyers and sellers don’t want to put all plans on hold indefinitely.”

Carter Jonas’ rural team completed two online auction sales in February this year. A development comprising a range of farm buildings with permission to replace with two dwellings sold at the guide price of £175,000 whilst a traditional barn with permission for conversion to a detached dwelling which was also offered at a guide price of £175,000 far exceeded it, selling for £230,000.

Development site at Skillgate Lane.

Jack said: “The auction method of sale is an excellent way of establishing the market value of more unique properties, including development sites such as these. Both properties have sold successfully, with one selling at the guide price and another significantly above – a classic auction trait.”

The barn and development site – both in Somerset – attracted a surge of registrations on the auction platform from potential purchasers, with competition coming down to three bidders on the barn and two for the development site.

“We were able to get the planning permission for our clients on those sites before launching them for sale, adding value to the properties and offering greater certainty for potential purchasers,” Jack said.

The catalyst for offering these properties for sale by online auction was a wish to offer greater certainty to vendors, with private treaty sales often taking up to three months from agreeing a sale to complete.

Jack added: “We are keen to continue offering online auctions as lockdown restrictions are lifted because of the convenience it offers buyers and sellers.”

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