SDL Auctions held auctions in Birmingham (25th), Derby (26th) and Leicester (27th of March). While the auctions went ahead as planned, they were held behind closed doors following advice on social distancing. .
SDL made several remote bidding options available to buyers and before the auctions managing director and auctioneer Andrew Parker said: “We have not taken this decision lightly but the safety and health of our customers, partners and staff are our primary focus and we felt this was the most appropriate course of action in these unprecedented times.”
Property investors that were interested in purchasing any of the lots were able to submit a telephone, proxy or internet bid, or they could simply watch and listen to the auction in real time by clicking the “watch auction live” link on the website.
Parker says that SDL already uses all of these technologies for every auction and that the remote bidding service is already used by many of the regular buyers. “Our auctions are already filmed for our live video feed and we take multiple remote bids each auction day. In fact, last year we sold in excess of £80m of property online so it’s a system we have proved works well.”
So how did the online auctions go on the day? Were they just as successful as normal (in attendance) auctions?
A huge success thanks to technology
SDL hailed its first week of lockdown a success after raising £7.1m for sellers across all three auctions held behind closed doors. Instead of taking to the rostrum in front of a busy room of people, Parker conducted the auction from the company’s head office in Nottingham.
All three auctions were streamed live via the company’s website and for the 1,850 people watching online very little looked different. More than 400 remote bids were placed, with properties selling for an average of 15% over the guide prices.