Luxury Homes are Selling Quickly Via Auctions

House Auctions in New York

House auctions have a certain stigma attached to them, often eliciting concerns about foreclosures and unpaid taxes. But luxury property auctions have been shedding the fire-sale image of the past, and now even the owners of high-end properties are putting their homes on the chopping block. “It’s no different from selling a Picasso,” says Charles Russell, a business development manager for New York–based Concierge Auctions, which handled the $1.175 million sale of a 1.37-acre Briarcliff Manor estate with Hudson River views last July.

“We bring clients straight to the sellers, creating urgency and demand.” (Prior to the auction, the property had been on the market for more than two years, last asking $1.865 million.) In Nassau County, an actual 18th-century French château, shipped to Upper Brookville during the 1920s, sold for $2.1 million in late 2017 via Premier Estates. And in East Hampton, a 5,000-square-foot home on Pondview Lane—a stone’s throw from the Maidstone Club—went for $4.62 million last October with Heritage Auctions.

In most cases, house auctions involve short closes, no contingencies, and all-cash transactions, so they can be ideal for affluent buyers and sellers. And even though some sellers often set a minimum price, known as a reserve, buyers have more flexibility in terms of what they pay since the tedium of negotiating is a nonissue. “Auctions are becoming the preferred method of selling,” says Randy Haddaway, founder and chief executive officer of Florida-based Elite Auctions, “because they don’t involve waiting out the market.”