Condos for sale vary in size, price
“Real estate auctions have been attempted ten to 12 years ago in Victoria but at that time there was no public appetite for it.”
Based on the strength of the current Victoria market he does not anticipate many sellers using this avenue to sell their houses.
“But you can be sure we will be keeping a curious eye to see if this develops into a growing trend,” Joe says.
The units offered to the highest bidder at the end of June are smaller than the Hendrys' 1,739 square-foot, two bedroom penthouse suite. With its 11-foot ceilings and windows on three sides, the open-plan suite is bright and faces the water. Almost as large as the living area are three decks totaling 1,500 square feet.
The main entertainmentsized patio has enough space to accommodate separate eating and entertainment areas. The patio and the deck off the master suite enjoy beach, water and mountain vistas.
The designer 14-foot by 12foot kitchen comes with granite countertops, 16-inch floor tiles and stainless appliances. The master bedroom boasts a fourpiece ensuite and walk-in closet.
A unit identical to the Hendrys’ is currently on the market for $1.2 million. At the other end of the spectrum, a one-bedroom in the same building is listed at $499,500.
The advance publicity around the unreserved auction has already resulted in an increase in inquiries in local properties, say local real estate agents.
“I am happy as heck about the auction,” says Harry Greenberg, a real estate agent who has two other properties listed for sale in the same building. “I see it as a positive move. The auction house is marketing the properties across the country — and that gives my units exposure.”
He compares auctions to situations where real estate agents tender multiple offers on a single property. “The only difference is that the bidder in an auction has less time to think it through.”
Nor is Greenberg worried the properties will devalue his listings. “Ultimately, the value of any property is determined by a willing seller and buyer.”
While Kieran Holm of Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers acknowledges the traditional method of selling real estate still functions well, he points out that in the United States, selling housing by auction is the fastest growing category of the industry.
“Down there the housing supply is way out of whack from demand,” says Holm, who is the regional manager of the company’s real estate division. “Although what we have in Parksville is unique, we believe the market will always find its own level.”
His company is taking a measured approach into the Canadian real estate market, which he says lags a year behind the American model. “This market has shifted and we want to be prepared for the opportunity when it presents itself.”
With the area boasting five golf courses, three marinas and a sandy beach known for its annual sandcastle competition, properties in Parksville has become popular among retirees and investors, especially from Alberta. Interest in the area jumped when WestJet introduced daily, direct, 90-minute flights from Calgary to Comox, a 40-minute drive from Parksville.
At least seven of their neighbours are from Calgary. Some are residents, others use the property as get-away homes.
“Albertans make up almost 50 per cent of my clients,” says Carol Fulton, a real estate agent with Coast Realty Group in Parksville who has three listings in the building. “Marketing by the auction company can only bring more awareness to people not already familiar with the area.”