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2010: The year of the real estate auction?

January 2, 2010 | 11:22 am

Auctions gained traction in last year's down housing market as a way to sell real estate -- in all price ranges. It's a trend I expect to see more of in 2010, and not just for bank-owned homes. 

A 13,500-square-foot spec built mansion in Tarzana that went for $4 million in December may be opening up more sellers' eyes to the possibilities.

Since that sale, Beverly Hills-based Kennedy Wilson has started signing up private property owners who want to use auction as a sales tool rather than the traditional list and wait method. The auction house is planning a "great estate" auction featuring multiple sellers and properties throughout Southern California and perhaps a few select markets such as Las Vegas. 

Another high-profile auction in the works is Cher's Hawaii compound, which she hopes will fetch between $8 million and $12 million.

Why I'm expecting to see more auctions in the mainstream: It gives the seller a defined time frame; if the house doesn't meet the "reserved price" the seller had in mind, then it can be always listed later; and the idea is still novel enough that the marketing is an attention-grabber for the house.

--Lauren Beale

Thoughts? Comments?

Photo: The Tarzana auction attracted 29 registered bidders, each required to bring a $25,000 cashier's check. Credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu