SWANSEA-BASED estate agency, John Francis, has reported a record 14 per cent increase in sales of properties at auction in 2012.
The estate agency sold more than 200 properties at auction over the last 12 months, bringing in sales of £17.7 million, up from the 153 sold in 2011 at a value of £15.5 million.
The figures come after the estate agency held its final two auctions of the year which saw 20 out of 23 properties sold in Swansea, bringing in £1.9 million in sales, while in Carmarthen 26 out of 28 lots were sold at a total value of £1.65 million.
One such property was a third-floor flat in SA1 which sold for £52,500, well above its guide price of £25,000-£35,000. Nigel Jones, director of John Francis, said: "Despite a relatively flat market, our auction sales have continued to grow over the past few years and we're delighted to announce record figures for 2012.
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"According to the EIGroup, the industry average this year is around 70 to 75 per cent, so for us to achieve a success rate of 91 per cent of properties sold is a fantastic record, especially when you consider that in 2007 and 2008 — at the height of the market — we sold between 70 and 90 properties a year at auction.
"It just goes to show that auction remains a really popular means of buying and selling a property.
"The sale of 'one-off' properties, probate sales and financially distressed sales are particularly attractive to the investment and occupier purchaser, while the certainty and speed of sale also appeals to both buyers and sellers alike.
"Of course, that does not mean to say that any property will sell at auction.
"Sellers need to be realistic about their agreed minimum sale price, while the location and condition of a property is also vital and will determine the amount of interest from buyers at auction and, importantly, how much they're willing to pay."
Mr Jones believes that the high success rate in selling properties at auction is all down to carefully selection of lots and advice given to clients.
Mr Jones added: "We generally advise our clients to put up properties that are fresh on the market at auction as opposed to ones that have already been on the market and failed to find a buyer.
"It is also true that while all properties can sell at auction, not all are best suited to be sold in that environment, so we have to be careful about what advice we give to clients as to whether their property fits the bill."
John Francis is Wales's largest independent estate agency with 21 branches from Swansea to Aberystwyth, two commercial departments and two lettings offices.