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Home Auctions Surge 47 Percent Since 2003

Home Auctions Surge 47% Since 2003
Individual homeowners join ranks of builders seeking to dump inventory
By The Associated Press
July 16, 2008

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Despite the soft real estate market, Beazer Homes USA Inc. recently sold 26 beachfront condos on the Jersey Shore in 75 minutes. Auctions are no longer just for banks seeking to unload a foreclose. In a sign of just how broad the real estate downturn has become, auctioneers say much of their current business is being driven by home builders reducing inventory, and individuals who can't afford to wait out the real estate doldrums. Christopher Gillen, an executive vice president for Beazer Homes USA Inc., said the condos were the first the company had put up for auction in the area. Before the auction, Beazer was asking between $400,000 and $850,000 for the condos, but sold them for between the high $300s and the high $700s, Gillen said. The condo sales "may have taken a year-plus to sell if we had gone a more traditional route of putting homes on the market," Gillen said.

On Wednesday, the National Association of Home Builders said the business outlook of the major builders hit a record low in July. The monthly index posted new lows for sales conditions, shopper traffic and sales expectations. Yet auctions are proving to be one sales solution for both builders and anxious homeowners. Revenues from residential real estate sold at live auction grew about 5 percent last year and are up almost 47 percent since 2003, according to the National Auctioneers Association, which held its annual conference last week in Nashville. Complete article.