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Repossessed Property Auction in the UK

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A picture of some housesIf you are searching for Repossessed Property Auction (in the United Kingdom) then one of the big players is REDC. The American based company has sold billions (yes billions!) of dollars worth of property since 1990. Auctions must be attended in person if you want to bid, which might be an inconvenience, however it does reduce competition. You also need to register in advance if you wish to bid (which again is a good thing).

Although other auctioneers will from time to time sell repossessed property, REDC is a specialist auctioneer that only sells this type of property. However it is worth checking out lots from many auctioneers because most of them will make it clear in their guide which lots are repossessions. Look out for text like “By order of the mortgagee”, or “By order of the receivers”, depending on if the house is privately owned or owned by a business. Sometimes entire blocks of flats are sold at auction by receivers, especially now the boom in city-center flats has ended in the UK, and frankly in some areas it has crashed to almost zero demand.

There are reasons you may not see as many repossessed properties on the market as say in 1990-1 during the last house price crash. Firstly near-zero interest rates have helped many homeowners with cash-flow, even if they are in negative equity, and the banks are happy they can keep paying, so no repo. Also where mortgages have gone into arrears, banks have been more lenient, more willing to help. And there has been cases where banks have taken possession of houses but not sold them, they have held on to them, but in separate businesses they control, I presume to hide the losses from their main balance sheets to fool investors (and the UK taxpayer for part-nationalised banks).

I believe the QE (Quantative Easing) plan by the Bank of England has helped make credit more available and this has also helped reduce REPOs. Although many people say QE hasn’t achieved this goal I think it may have made a very bad situation, well not so bad, but still pretty bad. We’ll never know, as there is not much living history to go on, credit crunches don’t happen as often as general recessions.

So that was a but off topic, but really it was to show you why repossessed property auction houses may not have as much stock as you’d hope. Don’t worry though, repossessions are not the only source of bargains – there are many to be had through conventional auctions, motivated sellers using estate agents and specialist companies that deal with people who need a quick sale. To only focus on repossessed property is a bit blinkered. You just need the right property at the right price, whatever the vehicle of achieving this.