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Graham Awards


Auction success vindicates agency’s move to live-stream format

High end agency Savills says it’s raised over £270m in nine auctions this year, with an average sold price of over £400,000.

To combat the effects of the pandemic, Savills auction department put into place a new live-streamed auction style in lieu of the typical ballroom sale.  

Some auction houses chose to go with a countdown style of auction with multiple lots being sold at once and with viewers being able to follow numbers on a screen. 


However Savills introduced a different new virtual format allowing bidders to participate remotely while following the action in real time on a live-stream, with the auctioneer taking bids at the virtual rostrum as they would in the auction room, a format it had been developing pre lockdown.

Savills first remote sale took place in March and was conducted by a single auctioneer supported by a team of nearly 30, all remotely working from home to help power the sale. 

Savills has since held eight remote auctions with the most recent earlier this month. 

All were held in accordance with government guidelines, raising a total of almost £270m overall with thousands of telephone bidders at each sale as well as those bidding online and by proxy. 

The auction’s format adapted in line with lockdown rules, once lockdown eased in June auctions took place from a Savills office with multiple auctioneers at the rostrum. In each case, the auctions replicated the bidding process of the live auction room, with each lot live in turn until the gavel falls.

The success of the live streamed auction style and demand from vendors meant that Savills held more sales than in any previous year including the firm’s first ever August auction due to client demand. 

Christopher Coleman-Smith, head of Savills Auctions, says: “Going into 2020 no one could have foreseen this year, the pandemic’s effect on the industry and the ways in which we would have to adapt. 

“In a year of great uncertainty, we swam against the tide of the wider auctions market and have had a comparatively successful year. We know that there are lots of vendors looking to sell before the end of the year, as well as bidders looking to take advantage of the upcoming stamp duty holiday deadline. We will be hosting several auctions at the start of next year for this very reason.”


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