2008 and was a tough year for property auctions. Commercial sales more than halved from 2007, as auctions were starved of both willing sellers and cash-rich buyers. And though residential sales were not so badly hit, average lot sizes dropped by up to 20%, with sales bolstered only by a surge in repossessions.

But unlike the frozen investment market, there were still regular transactions with which to gauge values.

With bank lending still negligible and values still falling, the auction room has never been a more important barometer for what will happen in the rest of the market.

All eyes are now fixed on the auction houses in 2009 in order to get a handle on pricing and call when we are likely to reach the bottom of the market.

Property Week meets the experts from the leading auction houses to find out exactly what they think this year will bring.

Property Week speaks to the auction houses about the year ahead