Before SWVA Principal Chris Holmes had turned off his auctioneer’s microphone for another day, the sale rate at the Parkstone firm’s latest drive-through for classics had risen from 81% sold under the hammer to a whopping and 2016 market-topping 90%. For after 8 more cars changed owners on a Friday morning in Dorset, only 8 of the 78 cars in the SWVA catalogue had failed to sell.
In 2015 however, the West Country vehicle auction house successfully shifted 92% of consigned classics, a much higher percentage than their provincial rivals and the First Division Clubs. Although even during what has been a far more volatile year for all sectors of all markets, so far, 94% of cars sold in their January sale and 92% were hammered way by SWVA in April. Whereas, 36% of cars sold on a Saturday at the most recent Barons sale at Sandown Park, 37% of the Charterhouse Sunday sale catalogue contents at Sherborne Castle and on a Thursday afternoon in the East Midlands the H&H sale rate at Donington was 58%.
The higher the proportion of cars auctioned Without Reserve, of course, the better it should be for an auction’s final stats of course, SWVA had 9 No Reserve classics in their end of July sale, 9 certainties therefore with 12% of their entry going to sell for whatever was bid plus premium. More importantly, for the other 88% of cars that did have Reserve prices, their vendors’ bottom line figures needed to be market-realistic. Most of them clearly were at this latest Parkstone Drive Through.
Even if Reserves are temptingly low though, potential buyers, who have the necessary spending money, and are registered and who are prepared to bid, have to be present at the sale. For those punters who make the journey are still the majority and outnumber those who participate via the dog and bone – while, statistically, even fewer Amazon-addicts play for classic-sized amounts on-line.
Although there has been some flight to equities, most money invested in financial services products continues to perform poorly and, as the Building Society notifications of even lower interests following the Bank of E’s latest Base Rate cut hit the nation’s door mats, projected on-paper returns of ISA’s and South Sea Bubble Funds will sink to a gnat’s dropping off zero percent. Only the alternative investment market offers some solace and a collector vehicle or two in the metal will be more fun in the well hedged portfolio than declining digits on a far-away trading screen.
On old fashioned paper, classic cars priced in Brexit-vote devalued Sterling should have become more attractive to those consumers paying with US Dollars or Euros, but terrorism averse Americans are currently not travelling and, thus far, there have been very few sightings of EU reg plates in UK auction car parks. At the moment at least, besieged Islanders have the field to themselves.