After getting over-excited and subsequently overbuilding in the Portland market during the housing frenzy of the early 2000s, Roger Pollock is crying Uncle. And in doing so, he's getting the attention of thousands of potential home buyers.
As of Tuesday December 11, 2,273 bidders had registered to attend the December 15 and 16 auction of more than 250 unsold homes and condos as Pollock, owner of Buena Vista Custom Homes, cashes out. Previously, the asking prices have ranged from $300,000 to $650,000, but at auction, bids will start as low as $69,000.
"We were over-aggressive and too slow to react to the changes in the market, and that has created an over-supply of finished homes," he said in a statement. "We are thrilled by the reaction to the auction. Buyers are going to get some amazing deals, and we are certainly motivated to sell."
The company made a conscious decision to put every completed spec home it had in the market into the auction event. That has made others in the market suspicious of Buena Vista's motivation. Though Pollock is casting the auction strategy as a creative sales tactic, sources in the market who would not speak for attribution snipe that this may be more of an act of desperation.
But company spokesperson Mike Higgins says it's nothing more than a strategy to move inventory. "I think Roger's philosophy is that, if he hung on to these, some day, some way, they would eventually sell. But what's the benefit of that? Sometimes it's better to cut your losses and move on. There is more power in liquidating, so then you have the cash to go buy land while prices are low."
The publicity prior to the auction has spurred additional sales. "We have had over 100 offers come in since we announced the auction," said Higgins. "You can imagine what some of those were like, but the reality is that we did see 11 of those result in sales."
Buena Vista enlisted Real Estate Disposition Corporation (REDC) to conduct what is believed to be the largest two day sale of real estate by one seller in Oregon history.
"We aren't going into it thinking we'll sell all 250 homes, but when you look at it compared to what a normal December would be--maybe 8 to 10 sales--we've already exceeded that," said Higgins.