LONDON- London auctioneer Strettons says the market was worse before 11 September than afterwards. Its 10 September sale showed high prices but was tinged with an overall element of caution. The firm says that buyers were reluctant to open the bidding on several of the lots which, just prior to the summer break, would have attracted considerably more demand.

By contrast, Strettons’ 26 November sale went better. ‘Although the press had been referring to price reductions within the residential sector, partly in the aftermath of 11 September, there was no evidence whatsoever of this in the room,’ says Strettons’ Graham Slyper. ‘Indeed, overall the prices achieved showed an average excess over reserve of 28.5%, and speculative properties seemed to fare especially well. We sold 119 of the 136 lots offered (88%) for a total of £12.9 million ($18.7 million).’

Strettons’ total realisation for 2001 was more than £72 million ($104 million), representing a 34% increase on year 2000. 2001 also saw an increase in Strettons’ average lot size, which increased by 20% from £98,943 ($143,250) to £118,853 ($172,075).

This was a year that Strettons saw real benefits from the Internet, too. Its November auction day brought 6,808 hits on the firm’s website, followed by 6,702 the day after. The month’s total was 102,500. This compares to the 2,000 calls the firm expects from an auction advert in the London Evening Standard.

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