Sales of pubs at auction jumped 38% in the first six months of 2010 compared to the same period last year, writes Gemma McKenna. Experts believe the hike is is due to growing numbers of bottom end pubs reaching market after failing to sell through property agents, alongside Enterprise Inns’ top-end sale and leaseback deals in London. The latest figures come from the Essential Information Group (EIG) which collates data from over 400 auction houses throughout the UK. Between January and June 2009, 145 pubs were sold at auction, compared to 201 this year. The average price of a pub selling at auction has increased by just over £92,000 compared to last year, reaching just over £336,000. The cheapest venues were available in Wales — average prices ranged between £49,000 and £177,000 in the first six months, and the North West, where prices averaged between £81,750 and £121,273. Forty-two pubs sold at auction in the North West — the second highest number of pubs in the UK after London. A spokeswoman for EIG said: “The influx of pubs selling at auction is caused by two factors — the disposal of closed and bottom end pubs at auction throughout the north and Midlands, which may already have been on the market for a while, and the sale of top-end freehold pubs such as those selling through Enterprise Inns.” Unsurprisingly, London pubs are still the most expensive at auction, as Enterprise Inns continues with the sale and leaseback programme of its prime central London pubs. Four times as many pubs were sold in the capital in the first half of 2010 (43) compared to the year before (11).