New realities emerge as sales season kicks off

Goffs UK: Silver Sale saw clerance rate fall to 70 per cent

PICTURE: Sarah Farnsworth/Goffs UK New market realities hit during yearling auctions By Martin Stevens 11:22AM 29 AUG 2016

Comparing the health of different sectors of the market at this week's Goffs UK Premier and Silver Yearling Sales paints a picture of buoyancy in the top levels of trade but a collapse in demand in the lower rungs.

Putting the results in order and dividing them into four equal parts, or quartiles, and setting them against the equivalent figures from last year shows the upper echelons of the market are in general good health.

The £94,697 average price in the top quartile at the Premier sale was on a par with last year, with six lots making £200,000 or more – two fewer than in 2015. The number of yearlings who sold for £100,000 or more rose to 32 from 31.

Just as at the Arqana August Yearling Sale two weeks ago, it was the second-highest quartile that was most robust. The average price for that group rose by ten per cent year-on-year to £42,851.

The average price in the next quartile down dropped by five per cent to £25,451, although the figure for the bottom quartile remained steady at £12,437.

The median price is arguably the best barometer of a sale's health, as a few big prices can skew the average, and at the Premier sale it was up by 13 per cent overall. The median increased year-on-year across all levels of trade, but it rose by the smallest margin in the bottom quartile – by four per cent compared with between 11 and 13 per cent in the other three.

Matters took a turn for the worse, for vendors at least, at the non-select Silver Sale which followed the Premier sessions.

The average price dropped by 19 per cent overall and the two bottom quartiles suffered declines of around a quarter. The top of the market got away with the least damage, with the average down by 12 per cent in the fourth quartile.

Worryingly, the clearance rate at the Silver sale plummeted from 83 per cent in 2015 to 70 per cent.

Even the usually sanguine Goffs group chief executive Henry Beeby was moved to lament poor trade at the conclusion of the auction.

"We would suggest that today's trade is perhaps symptomatic of the market in general over the last few months," he said, "as the best are selling very well but there is increasing selectivity as the foal crops grow again, which is clearly indicated by the fall in the clearance rate."

The next test of the strength of the domestic yearling market will come at Tattersalls Ireland next month. Results from Doncaster suggest vendors might need to adjust their expectations to conform to new market realities.

Goffs UK year-on-year quartile comparison

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