WHEN and where did it all start, you might be asking? Well, here is a quick potted history. Under the original name of Inman Philpot and Austin, Stewart Gray first started conducting property auctions from about 1985 which were held jointly with William Prior & Son. In April 1987, the company name was changed to Austin Gray and regular property auctions were conducted as sole auctioneers from 1988. These were always held at The Dudley Hotel in Lansdowne Place, Hove before they were later moved to Hove Town Hall.

For the last three and half years we have been holding our auctions at The Villas, Clarendon Villas, Hove but this will sadly be our last at the venue. We are however delighted to inform everyone that from the date of our next auction on Thursday 1st November all of our future auctions will be held at the prestigious Hove Club, in Fourth Avenue, Hove. The Club which is in the heart of Hove offers excellent facilities with the added benefit of a multi-storey car park located over the road, opposite Hove Town Hall.

Not too many sale result sheets remain from those early auction days, but from one that we have found it is interesting to reflect on how much the market has changed. In auction No 28 in 1996 we sold 24 Dyke Road, Brighton, a 13 room HMO for £177,000. In 2010 we re-sold that same building for the original purchaser for £800,000, and today it is probably worth around £1.4-£1.5M.

Over the years we have offered a number of wonderful, and not so wonderful, buildings throughout Sussex, ranging from a crypt in an Arundel cemetery to five adjoining freehold listed buildings in Kemp Town with direct sea views. We are fortunate to be regularly instructed to sell high value properties and over the years have sold many six figure properties, but the highest of these was the £2.1M achieved last year for 11 Grand Avenue, Hove. A listed late Victorian red-brick which was arranged as 8 flats and needed a complete refurbishment. It is still the highest price achieved for any single freehold residential property ever sold by public auction in Brighton and Hove.