Auction business goes online for the foreseeable in wake of the Covid-19 outbreak

Coronavirus-affected Newport auctions business has decided that online will be the way forward its business after being forced to go on online for its latest sale due to the virus outbreak.

Newport-based Paul Fosh Auctions, the largest property auction house in Wales which regularly attracts 300-plus people to its sales, shifted its March auction to its online auction platform due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Paul Fosh, the owner of Paul Fosh Auctions, said: “With the increasing fears over the spread of the Covid-19 virus, we decided to move our March sale online. This decision was taken in light of the most recent government information regarding the virus and mass gatherings of people.

“Despite having just two days to set the whole thing up, my team, working with online experts EIG, were magnificent. The sale went off without a hitch. It was very exciting for us and also for the buyers.

“It’s safe to say that we smashed it. I do think that online is now the new normal for the foreseeable future. We will now be staging our next auction, which had been planned to be in a hall as usual, online.”

Mr Fosh said: “We normally have more than 300 people at our sales in Cardiff but thankfully we were able to warn enough people to stay away and in the end, just five turned up at the hotel. We had as many people register for the auction online as we usually get at the ballroom and we sold more than 60 per cent of the properties offered generating more than £3m in sales, comparable to a ‘normal’ auction.

“Our next scheduled sale is on Thursday, April 30. We plan to proceed with this sale and will continue to gather entries over the next two weeks. This sale will once again be held online with all types of bidders being accommodated for, even those for whom the idea of an online sale is initially daunting.

“All future auctions following our April sale are still planned to go ahead as normal, whether that’s online or a room sale depending on the circumstances, and we’ll release details of these in due course.

“With the need to protect our staff and the wider public we have devised new ways to gather entries and market them.

“We already have many lots listed which have been inspected and photographed prior. Again, we are planning on using technology to enable us to appraise properties and utilising external photographs where appropriate and internal photographs and videos where available.

“Anybody who has a property that they would like to sell now could be a perfect time. With the general property market seemingly on hold for a few weeks, the auction market is likely to thrive as developers and property investors looking to buy to add to their stock during these times.”