Selling a commercial property at auction


Written by: Paul Thompson on 10th December 2020

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Selling a commercial property at auction

Over the past 12 months commercial assets have maintained a strong track record, with demand high across all areas of the country. We have seen a high rate of sales success at our commercial property auctions, with investors continuing to show demand for property investments across all market sectors, including landlords looking to expand their portfolios and individual buyers looking for a suitable commercial premise for their business.

There are many different types of commercial properties that sell well at auction. If you are the owner of one that falls into any of the many categories below it is well worth considering selling your commercial property at auction.

Mixed-use properties

Properties that have multiple uses, or several potential future uses, are ideal for sale by public or online auction. A mixed-use property typically consists of a ground floor retail or commercial space with residential accommodation to the upper floors. These types of properties are particularly appealing to investors interested in the longer-term rental yield, or investors and owner-occupiers who see scope for development e.g., extending the roof space or converting the commercial element into residential.

Commercial Investments

Everything from offices, industrial units, retails shops, and garage blocks are sold at our property auctions. Whether they are tenanted or vacant, we have a large database of investor clients actively looking for these types of commercial investments.

Pubs & Hotels

The past couple of years have seen a strong demand for pub and hotel properties at our auctions. Once at the heart of their communities, pubs and hotels have had a hard time of late, with more and more closures over the years. In response to these widespread closures, we have seen an increase in former pubs and hotels being listed in our auctions.

These empty properties present an opportunity for investors to snap up a unique and often substantially sized property. Regeneration may allow it to remain as a functioning public house, or alternatively obtaining planning permission for change of use opens the property up to the masses, with the potential of either residential or commercial use.

Due to these factors, these types of property tend to generate large amounts of interest from potential buyers, and sale by auction is one of the most rapid and effective ways to ensure they can take on a new and useful identity within a community.

Ex-Local Authority Properties

As we have seen over the past couple of years, in particular since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, local councils and public sector clients have been under increased pressure to reduce costs and liabilities, minimise unnecessary expenditure and improve efficiency against a backdrop of tighter budgets and a tough economic climate.

Many have given up the fight against austerity and are liquidating public assets via auction in order to fund and maintain their services.

Over 85 Council clients across the UK trust Pugh & Co to dispose of their surplus properties and land at auction. Our experience of acting on behalf of Council clients is comprehensive, and we have successfully completed the disposal of assets in excess of £185m through approximately 2,100 instructions.

Unique properties

There is almost always a selection of unique entries into our auctions, such as former churches, toilet blocks and water towers. These are usually sought-after properties in prime locations that need to be sold in a competitive bidding environment. The unique opportunity these types of properties offer often results in a high sale price, achieving an outcome that couldn’t be challenged by a private treaty sale.

Looking to sell your commercial property at auction?

If you have a commercial property to sell at auction, click here for a FREE auction appraisal or call 0345 505 1200 so speak to one of our expert team.

To find out more about the selling process, follow this link to read our auction selling guide. You can also see a list of our upcoming auction dates by visiting this link.



Written by: Paul Thompson on 10th December 2020

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About the Author

Paul is a Chartered Surveyor and member of the National Association of Valuers and Auctioneers (NAVA). He is also one of the few auctioneers in the country with a position on the RICS Real Estate Auction Committee.