Low Prices for High Rises

Auction will be first of its kind in downtown San Diego's high rise real estate market

The auction sign atop downtown San Diego's 19-story Smart Corner building could be the newest "sign" of the times.

Unlike other real estate auctions that are due to foreclosure or distressed properties, this one is for brand new condominiums.

"This is a buyers' market right now," said Ken Stevens, the CEO of Accelerated Marketing Partners, the company facilitating the marketing and strategy of the Smart Corner auction. "They will get to pay the price they want to pay. It's in their hands"

Stevens' company is in the midst of several auctions in other urban markets, but he said what is happening in San Diego is taking place for the first time in the downtown market. The auction, scheduled for Oct. 11, will put 49 units on the block with minimum bids 50 to 60 percent below their previous asking prices. The lowest-priced minimum bid is $129,000 (for a studio). 

Stevens anticipates that all 49 units will be sold. Sellers can't determine pricing -- they have to let the market decide, according to Stevens, who said that Smart Corner has done a smart thing by "trusting the market."

Smart Corner started selling units in 2007 but 80 percent of its inventory remains unsold. 

"We're starting to see large buildings like this with hundreds of hundreds of units available, and you can't just sell conventionally with any traction, without any momentum, without doing an event," Stevens said.

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