Auction house raises £37.3m from July sale compared with £52.4m last year and blames slump on retail woes.

Acuitus recorded its best sale of the year last week – but the total raised was sharply down on the equivalent sale last year due to retail pricing difficulties.

  • The commercial auction house sold 68 of the 86 lots on offer at its auction on 11 July, reflecting an 80% success rate.
  • However, although the success rate was only marginally down on the 83% achieved last year, it raised just £37.3m compared with £52.4m at its July 2017 sale, when 67 of the 82 lots sold.

Acuitus founder and auctioneer Richard Auterac said the auction room had “adjusted positively to new market conditions” such as challenges in the retail and restaurant sectors. He added that while these challenges had affected some sections of the retail market, there was still “demand across the board” for core retail assets.

“In May, we felt that the retail sector and the property market that underpins it had reached an inflexion point that clearly signalled new market conditions,” Auterac said.

“This sale showed how the auction room can adapt to changed market dynamics and align buyer and seller expectations to create transactions.”

  • The largest lot to go under the hammer was a Lloyds Bank in Clifton, Bristol, which was guided at £1.5m but sold for £1.7m, reflecting a 5.3% yield. It is let to Lloyds until 2025 at an annual rent of £100,500.
  • In addition, 10 HSBC banks all sold, at prices ranging from £415,000 to £835,000.
  • Another portfolio of nine sale-and-leaseback retail properties offered by retailer M&Co also sold in its entirety.

KFC Wolverhampton

A KFC drive-through restaurant in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, with a £1.4m guide price sold for £1.6m, reflecting a 5.3% yield. It is let for £91,200 per year.

Auterac said setting a price for auction lots had become more complicated as a result of the many challenges facing the market. “The investment market has become more complex to predict and pricing is sensitive – a basic approach to pricing simply doesn’t work anymore,” he said.

Acuitus’s next auction will be held on 18 October at the Radisson Blu hotel in Portman Square, London.