Florida Auction Generates Millions

Auction sales appear to have become a popular venue in the sale of luxury homes adding to the types of property available in this marketplace. It is part of what is seen as a growing real estate sales trend nationwide.

Up to $18.6 million worth of high-end housing changed owners over three hours of "frenetic bidding" under a huge tent on the Ritz-Carlton Hotel grounds here, auctioneers said. The sale "exceeded expectations," said Chad Roffers, president of Sky Sotheby's International Realty and one of the auctioneers at the sale.

In his view, "It demonstrated that in this type of market the auction is an effective way to sell luxury properties."

"We've been saying for a while that buyers and sellers were in a standoff, with buyers reluctant to commit at prevailing asking prices," Mr. Rofers said in a company release.

"What you saw today is a redefining of the market through an open-bidding process and that will be an effective guide for all of us as we move forward. The market's response was extraordinary. We're extremely pleased with the outcome."

The highest bid went to a mansion in Sarasota sold for $6 million, with the second largest sale going for a Bird Key home sold at $5.75 million.

Reportedly, over 400 people participated in the auction sale. Apart from buyers from Florida, many of the 93 participating bidders came from Alabama, Virginia, Illinois, Utah and Washington, D.C.

Conducted by J.P. King Auction Co. and Sky Sotheby's International Realty, the auction appears to be part of an effort "to reduce burgeoning inventories of high-end real estate in the area," Mr. Roffers said after the auction closed.

An exclusive Sotheby's affiliate, Sky Sotheby's is one of the largest luxury real estate property brokerage firms in the area.

J.P. King executives also described the auction as "a tremendous response that reduced inventories and went a long way toward showing what price levels buyers are willing to pay."

J.P. King said Palm Beach, Tampa Bay, Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine are some of the Florida markets it has been active in recently.

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