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DC Auction Sees Huge Turnout, High Bids

by Will Smith

DC Auction Sees Huge Turnout, High Bids

The DC government must be very pleased with how its home auction turned out last Friday. The auction, which included 30 dilapidated residential properties that Mayor Fenty had labeled “neighborhood eyesores,” saw a huge turnout — non-bidders were turned away at the door — and grossed almost $5 million, according to the Washington Post. The buying frenzy was a welcome contrast to the housing market lethargy reported in the media on a daily basis.

When UrbanTurf arrived at the auction site five minutes before it was set to begin, the line was over 130 people long, packing the building’s lobby. It inched forward slowly, and thirty minutes later, the line still had over 100 people in it. Coordinators eventually announced that only actual bidders would be allowed in (no sightseers), so unless you had a certified check for $10,000, you wouldn’t be making it in. Only a few people left following the announcement, suggesting that most people had the appropriate funds in hand.

We were sightseers but stayed in line anyway, having met someone with a certified check who generously offered to claim us as his business partner. However, when we finally reached the security entrance at 3pm, only check-holders themselves were allowed in.

Following a few conversations that UrbanTurf had with people in line, it became clear that many were eyeing the same properties. A handful of row houses in Ledroit Park and Columbia Heights had potential to be restored to beautiful properties. (We highlighted those in our post announcing the auction last week.)

Neither auctioneer Alex Cooper nor the DC government have posted the winning bids on their websites, but according to the Washington Post properties sold for a low of $35,000 to a high of $400,000. In general, prices were driven much higher than people in the audience had expected, especially since many of the properties are going to need a lot more money for renovations.

If you were at the auction and know what any of the properties sold for, please let us know.

Past coverage of the auction:

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/dc_auction_sees_huge_turnout_high_bids/507

1 Comment

  1. tom veil said at 5:33 pm on Monday February 2, 2009:

    I was there and yes, it was overwhelming.  A place I wanted to bid $140k on went for $380k (plus a $19k transaction fee).  The legal contract requiring the buyers to renovate the houses seemed pretty strict, too, so it’s pretty safe to say that DC is going to have homes for about 100 more people by next year, not even counting the fact that the government is using the proceeds to build low-income housing.  I hope DC has more of these in the future—once a building becomes truly abandoned, it makes all the sense in the world to get it back into shape ASAP.

Comments are closed.

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