Auction house cancels ‘record-breaking’ event

Gurpreet Bassi

Bond Wolfe Auctions has cancelled its May auction in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company had previously hailed the auction as a “record-breaker”.

Chief executive officer Gurpreet Bassi said: “The health and safety of clients, staff and the wider public are at the forefront of our decision and a priority over our commercial objectives.

“While we are fully able to operate a ‘remote bidding only’ auction or even a full online sale, it is doubtful that we would achieve the best possible price for our vendors.

“Additionally, it is completely unreasonable for us to expect potential purchasers to buy property without the possibility of carrying out their full due diligence to include internal viewings and surveys.

“We feel that by putting properties on the market, it would encourage people to flout the lock-down and social distancing rules, even if only to go and inspect a property externally, as this would be impossible for us to police.”

The decision comes after Bond Wolfe Auctions achieved record results in its February auction, raising over £20m, with 200 lots sold out of the 212 offered, for 95% sales success rate.

Bassi said: “It is disappointing for us as a business, as we are on a roll, but it is absolutely the correct decision. For the February auction, we had a record number of remote bidders by telephone, online and proxy – over 850, and we undertook a record number of viewings, well over 6,200, in the lead up to the auction.”

He added: “But after considerable deliberations with management and staff, and in the best interest of achieving positive results for our valued clients we have taken the difficult decision to cancel our May auction.

“We have been constantly monitoring the situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic while following all of the Government’s advice and updates on social distancing. As a business we have taken this decision as we feel that it is the only responsible and safe action to take.

“We urge people to follow government instructions and only leave your homes for medical reasons, exercise and essential shopping. This is the only way that we will stop the spread and ease the pressure and workload on our magnificent NHS staff.

“We will be announcing our next auction dates in due course and expect to have the largest-ever auction to take place outside London, exceeding our own previous records.”