Suffering through a shadowy frigid 50 degree temperature, bidders and spectators alike gathered in anticipation in the hottest condominium auction to hit Panama City Beach. The party was held under the covered portacache at Origin in the Towne of Seahaven just 1/2 mile east of Pier Park on Panama City Beach.
Even as late as 12:40 pm, the crowd looked sparse, of course, maybe it appeared to be spread thin as the area was large and people were scattered all over. A childhood technique comes to mind to give the appearance of a eaten dinner – spread the food around a little to make a lot look like a little, and break for an early desert.
Bidder registrations were at a scant 30 something when I arrived on the scene at 12 noon, although I was unable to get a definitive number. I was able to confirm after the auction had begun that a total 54 had registered to bid.
“I’m looking to buy 40 cents on the dollar,” said one registered bidder, indicating the smell of blood in the air. “I’ll probably offer $200,000 for a 2 bedroom,” said another bidder, “not sure if I’ll get it, but I’ll try.” He later signed the paperwork for a 3 bedroom for his original budget of $200k. At the end of the day, his purchase was the least per square foot purchase of all the condos offered for sale at the auction. He bought a 1963 square foot condo for $112.07 per square foot, after the buyer’s premium. “It’s always a little risky bidding first,” he said, “but nobody was bidding, so I just through out a number and I actually got it.”
It took a while for the crowd to wake up, but once they did, a feeding frenzy much like what was seen at Palazzo ensued. The market price seemed to be set by a few winning bidders, then the National Auction Group began working with interested parties to negotiate and sell a total of 37 condos.
What I found interesting was that at some point, the actual auction stopped but real estate continued to sell. The National Auction agents seemed to change modes from auctioneers to negotiators bringing offers and deals back and forth between attendees and the developer. In fact, only 9 condos actually sold auction style – all the others happened after the fact.
As the cold wore on and the crowd again grew scarce, condo sales were still being picked off one by one. The average price per square foot sold after the buyer’s premium was $166 with a range from $112/sf to $196/sf.
I should note that if you were following the live updates that I was posting as the auction was happening, all the sold prices stated were BEFORE the 10% buyers premium. The action was just happening too fast for me to take notes, send in updates AND do another calculation.
Out of the condos that were sold when I left only 3 were pool/center view, indicating that with the lower than expected prices, the developer is reserving the ‘premium’ units for a higher price.
Talking with Neel and Mike Bennett several times throughout the auction, they both expressed their concern for the market and the desire of a higher price being commanded from their product offering. Many owners are upset because of the auction as it certainly makes clear the value of these beautiful condominiums at Origin in the Towne of Seahaven.
Being an owner, it certainly hurts to know how upside down we are right now, but at least we know – and “knowing is half the battle,” as a wise G.I. Joe commercial once said.
I’ve been criticized in the past for sticking up for the developer, but in this case I stick up for them not because they are friends, but from a business stand point. The reality is that even though we are significantly upside down, our hurt doesn’t hold a candle to that of the developer. We’d all like the market to be a lot better than what it is now. Everyday we have to fight for an appetite because of all the money we’ve lost. The fact is that there is nothing we can do about it, we are were we are. For the developer, the best thing to do is get rid of as much inventory as he can – that is the only way he can move forward. If he doesn’t do it, the bank will, he can’t hold onto unsold condos forever.
This auction is another testement to what I’ve been telling everyone for months – Now is the time to be buying real estate. Prices are better now then they’ve been in several years.
Below is the unit number/price breakdown for all the condos sold when I left Saturday. I’m hoping to have some final numbers soon, and will post them when I do.
It is my understanding that the Bennetts (developer) are still taking deals. If you need more information on this, or help purchasing a condo, feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 850-319-1172.
Sold condos – all numbers are after 10% buyer’s premium with the bold units being the ones that are on the inside of the horseshoe.
|1033/1035||3 Bedroom Lock B||1781||$297,000||$166.76|
|1133/1135||3 Bedroom Lock B||1781||$297,000||$166.76|
|1433/1435||3 Bedroom Lock B||1781||$297,000||$166.76|
|1701||3 Bedroom D||1963||$220,000||$112.07|
|429||2 Bedroom B||1427||$221,100||$154.94|
|1432||2 Bedroom E||1293||$210,000||$178.65|
|501/503||2 Bedroom Lock A||1306||$220,000||$168.45|
|535/537||2 Bedroom Lock A||1306||$220,000||$168.45|
|1425/1427||2 Bedroom Lock C||1303||$176,000||$135.07|
|1232||1 Bedroom A||815||$137,500||$168.71|
|1031||1 Bedroom B||881||$143,000||$162.32|
|1331||1 Bedroom B||881||$143,000||$162.32|
|1407||1 Bedroom B||881||$137,500||$156.07|