The sales of an old people’s home and a public toilet may not be the most obvious signs of a flourishing property market.
But the continuing success of auctions at one of Sheffield’s leading chartered surveyors shows a ‘healthy state of affairs’, according to one of the men and women with the gavels.
Adrian Little is a partner at Mark Jenkinson & Son, and on Tuesday oversaw an auction at Bramall Lane’s platinum suite that raised more than £3.6 million across 30 sold lots.
Among those were Brierley Fields, a former old people’s home in Abbey Brook Drive, Chancet Wood, that eventually sold for £385,000 – well above the £150,000 guide.
The highest price of the day was a £415,000 for an eight-flat complex in Steade Road, Nether Edge. And undoubtedly the most unusual lot was the public toilet building in Church Street, Conisbrough, which sold for £20,000 – way above the £1,000 guide price.
“I think yesterday was a really positive example of what’s going on in the market,” said Mr Little, the firm’s principal auctioneer with more than 30 years experience in the property industry.
“It’s a healthy state of affairs.”
Mark Jenkinson & Son’s monthly auctions – a ‘major event in the property calendar’, says Mr Little – have bucked the national trend, with an average sale success rate of about 90 per cent, compared to figures down in the 70s nationwide.
“It’s probably higher than it was at the peak of the market in 2006 and 2007. It’s a very strong overall level,” said Mr Little.
Developers and investment firms are clearly keen to snap up the lots on offer at these monthly auctions. This consistent success is encouraging for the property market as a whole, and may even predict a future boom in Sheffield.
Mr Little said: “The auction market is, in my opinion, a barometer to what’s going on in the wider market. People wouldn’t turn up to buy at auction unless they had the confidence that, looking ahead to once they have completed their project, the market would be there.
“The auction market is always ahead of the overall property market.
“People do gamble at auction, but there has got to be a degree of confidence looking ahead.”
The range of lots auctioned monthly by Mark Jenkinson & Son can include large plots of land, single houses and flats ready to let, derelict buildings ripe for refurbishment and former public facilities. Mr Little said: “We often get unusual things, quirky lots - things that are a bit different. The key word is potential.”
Whatever goes under their hammer, the auctioneer brings buyer and seller together with, according to Mr Little, a view to getting the best price for all parties. “The main thing is that when we bring the hammer down, that’s the legally binding contract,” he said. “This is serious business. It’s quite a huge responsibility that I have.”
And with lots all over Sheffield and the wider city region on offer at auction every month, there is plenty for buyers to consider. And the attractiveness to developers of Sheffield itself should not be discounted.
“I think Sheffield is very appealing,” said Mr Little. “One of the main factors is that we have two very successful universities with a huge international reach. Many of those students will stay on in various professions.
“That’s a very positive thing. We are in a position where we have got people who will buy and let because the market is there.”