Britain under the hammer

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House auctions used to be only for the hard up and the speculative. But a shortage of houses is encouraging mainstream buyers to compete with professional developers.

Winkworth is holding its next event at Kensington Town Hall, London, on 27 February.

Among the lots will be a large, mid-terrace Victorian house in Urmston, Manchester, guide price pounds 28,000. It is three storeys high, with two reception rooms and three bedrooms, and is less than a mile from the railway station.

GA holds its next auction at Brands Hatch on Monday, 10 February. Lots will include a two-bedroom terrace cottage in need of modernisation in Maidstone, Kent. The flat-fronted cottage, half-a-mile from the town centre and station, still has an outside loo. Guide price, pounds 20-25,000.

"You can get value for money at auction," says Kiernan Worrall, of Barnard Marcus Auctions. At the company's next event, on 11 February, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel (formerly the Hyde Park Hotel) in London, the 165 lots include a two-bedroom flat in Pimlico on a long lease, guide price pounds 140,000, and a two-bedroom, end-of-terrace house in Telford, Shropshire, pounds 24,000.

"We have sold home counties houses up to pounds 300,000," says Mr Worrall. "We offer a variety of properties, so people don't mind coming to London. With prices as low as pounds 20,000, it's worth it."

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