Two of the biggest names in property auctions have predicted that Covid will kill off ballroom events, spelling the end for a tradition that has dominated the industry for more than 100 years.
It has been a slow-burn though, both agree, accelerated by Covid; Allsop claims to have been the first to include online bids back in 1999.
But David Sandeman of EIG Auctions says the reasons for holding ballroom property auctions are rapidly disappearing as vendor, buyer and auctioneer habits are altered by Covid.
This includes both the rapid advance of technology and the ongoing public gathering restrictions, including those announced yesterday by the Prime Minister.
“The longer that Covid continues the more I think ballroom events will struggle to re-establish themselves – for months and maybe years people will be reluctant to gather with 200 or 300 other people in a small room at general auctions,” he says.
Sandeman says both all-tech property auctions and live internet narrow-casts of more targeted niche events have proved popular during Covid and that bidders are getting used to them.
Jamie Cooke, MD of Iamsold, says the generalist ballroom auction will not “come back in the same way and it’s unlikely that we will be back in a traditional auction room in 2020,” he says.
“There will still be a place in the market for in-room auctions in the future, but they may be less frequent and much more targeted and bespoke, which we’ll work with our Partner Agents on to get the balance right.
“With this in mind, if agents haven’t already considered MMoA as a solution for their clients, now is the perfect time.
“Long before Covid-19, in-room auctions were in decline and the pandemic may have hastened that decline.”
Also, Connect UK Auctions has revealed that the firm has launched an academy which, in part, is designed to help members of the public understand how online auctions work as they become ‘the new normal’.