It’s official: High-rise condo buildings have joined the auction craze. While auctions to move single-family and low-rise condo communities have dominated the headlines since the housing market tanked, developers are now turning to auctions to help boost high-rise sales as well.
The string of first-time high-rise auctions is hitting the market from coast to coast. In October, developers in San Diego, Seattle, and Portland, Ore., hosted their first high-rise auctions, and, next week, Riverdale, N.Y., will be the first city in the tri-state area to host one.
“It’s a good avenue for developers to get product sold in an uncertain time,” says Joseph Korff, principal of New York-based Arc Development, which will auction the remaining 54 units at the 64-unit Solaria Riverdale on Nov. 22. “You’ve got a buyer who remains fearful, and by allowing the auction process to go forward, we give the buyers the ability to set the market on a given day." The units are listed from $660,000 to $4.35 million and auction bids will start as low as $299,999.
“The auction process may be the best way to move forward for many high-rises,” adds Jim Corum, president of Irvine, Calif.-based Real Estate Disposition (REDC), which will be conducting the auction. “Other countries do almost all of their real estate sales through the auction process. It’s gone very well for the single-family market [in the United States]. We’ve done close to 400 auctions over last two years, primarily REOs.” Solaria is the firm’s first high-rise auction.
Accelerated Marketing Partners (AMP), which specializes in the development and implementation of both conventional and accelerated marketing and sales programs, cautions that high-rise auctions are a different ball game than liquidation auctions. “We relaunch the product; it’s a much more targeted marketing approach than a liquidation,” says Ken Stevens, West CEO of the Boston-based firm.
Last month, AMP conducted San Diego’s first high-rise auction for the 301-unit Smart Corner, owned by Los Angeles-based Canyon Johnson Urban Funds. AMP sold 44 units at the auction and since then has sold an additional 10 units. “From the lead list we created for the auction we were able to go through and reprice the building accordingly,” Stevens says. Only 200 units to go.
Editor's Note: Check out Top 10 Real Estate Deals' picks for the Top 10 Regional Auctions.