We’ve received multiple emails from irate participants in the Bel Air condo auction. The most recent reports are that as few as two units actually sold in the auction. The rest of the bids were supposedly rejected by the seller. As more details come out, it is becoming clear that the Bel Air condo auction went very very poorly.
The purpose of an auction is to quickly sell condos at the market price. In the case of Bel Air, the developers didn’t like the market price and so they have refused to sell many of the units. When the final bids came in, multiple reports suggest that the average “winning bid” carried a 45% discount off of the original price with the discount ranging from 30 – 60%.
In an unbelievable move, the developer and auction company are now aggressively negotiating with bidders to try to get them to pay more than their winning bids (market price) if they want the units that they won. This is a very problematic tactic and unlikely to succeed. Let’s not forget that they must also pay a 4% buyer’s premium.
The developers at this point have few choices: they either need to accept market price or take their chances back on the open market. It is hard to believe that they will sell units at above market rates through private marketing efforts or the MLS. With as many as 23 units remaining, the auction is on track to turn out poorly for everyone involved: residents, bidders, the auction company, and the developer will all likely be disappointed when this is over.
The following video shows the last unit to be auctioned and provides an inside look at the auction proceedings. The key words come at the end as the auctioneer clearly states that the unit is sold subject to seller’s approval. We’ll see if this approval ever comes.