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LONDON-It has been a busy month for property auctioneers. The 11 September atrocity caused a two-week downward blip in the market but rooms are once again packed with investors and the only lots difficult to sell are those on short leases and those too far outside the M25. What’s attracting the rush of bidders is the low level of interest rates.

Allsop & Co’s two-day commercial property auction in October realised a staggering £105 million ($152 million) with 215 lots sold and a success rate of 87%, making the sale the UK’s largest ever property auction. 30 lots sold for more than £1 million ($1.45 million). Across the sale prices averaged 10% above reserve.

Allsop’s Auctioneer Duncan Moir said: ‘The room was packed. Our regular buyers were there but there was a host of new faces– private investors disenchanted with the stock market and attracted by the yields on well-let properties.’

Nelson Bakewell’s October sale dispelled any doubts over sentiment among investors at auction as the company’s largest-ever sale raised £35 million ($50.75 million) with an overall success rate of 85%.

‘It was heartening to see that there is still strong demand for direct property investment from private investors. Some of the prices paid indicate that the lowering interest rates and uncertainty in other investment media has led to increased demand for property,’ commented NB’s Auctioneer James Cannon. ‘Buyers were keen to buy properties that provided a secure income stream for terms over 10 years. This was reflected in prices paid for those types of investment. Those with shorter terms or vacant were still selling where purchasers could see a clear strategy to deliver returns.’

The sale included ten lots offered on behalf of the London Borough of Hackney, which attracted the presence of noisy demonstrators. But Cannon said: ‘Although some people were present to air their concerns, this part of the sale proceeded without real incident: they seemed content simply to register their objections.’

And Jones Lang LaSalle’s auction team raised £35.42 million ($51.4 million) from its fifth auction of the year, with a 75% sale rate. This brings the total amount realised by JLL at auction so far this year to £137 million ($199 million).

JLL’s Auctioneer Peter Cunliffe said: ‘Private Investors have since 11 September become even keener to compete for secure income streams from property investments. This is fuelled by the low cost and availability of finance and positive income return received from day one’.

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