A second Austin condo project has announced plans to close out its condo inventory through a one-day auction. Bel Air, an 83-unit condo project that opened on South Congress Avenue more than two years ago, has announced plans to sell the remaining 25 units on August 9. This is the second large condo auction in the Austin market after 20 units were sold in Brazos Place in a packed 90-minute auction on May 17.
Bidding for Bel Air units will start at $90,000 for the least expensive unit, originally priced at $273,000, and will rise to $130,000 for a unit that was previously priced at $399,900. The auction will be run by Kennedy Wilson — the same firm that completed the Brazos Place Auction. The opening bid does not mean that units will be sold at those prices, there is often a separate higher minimum bid which must be met for a unit to sell.
For the Bel Air auction, bidders will need to bring a $2,500 cashier’s check in order to participate. Winning bidders will need to submit a personal check for 3 percent of the purchase price.
While potentially good for buyers, condo fire sale auctions like these infuriate existing owners who paid much more for their units and will likely see the value of their units reset to the auction price. While the auction is painful for existing owners, the large developer inventory of 25 unsold units is equally problematic as a large new inventory makes the resale of existing units difficult. The sale of remaining units and elimination of inventory could help by pulling inventory off the market. While the auction will be public record, the sales will likely not be recorded in MLS and will not appear in realtor comparables. As with the unfounded worries about the Brazos Place auction, the biggest worry for residents should be a failed auction: it would be bad if a large number of units went unsold, especially if some units sold at prices far below recent comparables.
Bel Air Lofts is located far south on Congress Avenue, close to Ben White. With original prices starting at $273,000, the project was charging downtown-like prices for a far south Austin location. The auction will provide a much clearer picture of demand and price sensitivity for condo projects located outside of downtown.
Bel Air Lofts
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