Sold for just £1: Lucky buyer snaps up property
PUBLISHED: 13:00 21 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:30 21 February 2020
Archant/William H Brown
A property has sold at auction in Norwich for just £1 – even though the new owner will need to find a way of getting inside.
In the most remarkable sale, a curious historic room in Wisbech went under the hammer in the saleroom and did not even make its £100 guide price.
Instead, auctioneer Simon Arnes, from William H Brown, brought the gavel down for just £1. The buyer was a local businessman who didn't want to comment about why he had bought it, but with the property next door in the historic line of buildings coming up for sale, he may be looking to extend.
Mr Arnes, who has been in the business for almost 50 years, said: "In all my career as an auctioneer, that's the lowest amount someone has paid at auction for a property."
His auction manager, Victoria Reek, agreed. "It sold for £1, just £1, how amazing was that? But we sold it and he is a local businessman."
The buyer will actually have paid more in fees than the actual price of the property, paying around £1,000 in total and no doubt paid for the lot in full rather than simply putting a deposit down.
The lot, in Nene Quay, which came up at the sale held at Dunston Hall Hotel, was a curious one because no one, including the auctioneer, had accessed the room, situated over a passageway and known as a "flying freehold". Until the businessman manages to access it, no one even knows what's inside.
The auction details state: "This is an opportunity to acquire a flying freehold which extends over part of a vehicular access passageway and comprises a single, currently inaccessible room, measuring approximately 12 sqm.
"There is limited information and we have not, at this stage, gained access."
The room was being sold by Fenland District Council along with other parcels of land and property they have owned for years. Situated at 5-6 Nene Quay, it is between the Tasty China restaurant at number 5 and Bridge Insurance office next door.
A flying freehold means it has no structure underneath but extends over a passageway.
Historic documents show the buildings along Nene Quay were originally shops and granaries, timber-framed and jettied with the upper floor built protruding from the lower floor.
Flying freeholds are most common where an older, large building has been converted into a number of smaller properties. At some point the room may have belonged to the building next door but somehow got separated over time.
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