Auction sells 30 area properties
Published: Thursday, January 18, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 11:54 p.m.
With the rapid-fire stammering of the auctioneer egging them on, four bidders in a roomful of well-wishers took turns raising the price on the Healthy Living Health Food Shoppe in Keystone Heights on Wednesday.
With an opening bid of $150,000, they raised their offers in $50,000 increments, then $5,000. With increasing pauses and hesitation between bids, the auction finally stopped at $465,000, sold to John and Debbie Hoffman, who own an aluminum manufacturer and two day cares in town.
Another sale courtesy of Ben Campen Auctioneers of Gainesville, which has been increasingly busy of late auctioning real estate for sellers eager for action in a market that has slowed considerably.
"The traditional marketplace hasn't produced activity," Campen said. "Two years ago, it was a feeding frenzy. That hasn't happened in the last six months. Putting it on the market doesn't stimulate a sale. An auction stimulates a sale."
Campen said he now gets six to 12 inquiries a day to auction real estate, which is "a tremendous increase."
With 40 years in the business, he conducted his biggest auction in terms of the number of sellers Saturday at the Holiday Inn West, offering 49 properties, with sales from $8,000 for a lot to a $400,000 home. He estimated 450 people attended, including 250 qualified bidders. Around 30 properties sold. Those that didn't sell had set minimum bids or were late arrivals, Campen said.
Casey's Cafe in Archer sold, but Blue Bayou Marina of Cedar Key did not.
Although an absolute auction with no minimum bid can be a scary proposition for sellers, Campen said it fetched the best prices that day. He advertises the properties and said willing buyers will show up.
"It's a matter of people understanding and being willing to accept market value."
David and Lorna Gagnon, who owned Healthy Living for 11 years, said they were pleased with the auction. Lorna, who is in real estate, said they listed the property a year ago for about $500,000 so they could retire to Tennessee. She said her only concern was that the town needs a health food store.
The Hoffmans said they are not sure what they will be doing with the property, but will not sell it.
Sold separately at Wednesday's auction was a full inventory of health-food groceries, equipment and furniture, to sole bidders Kurt and Rene Nall, who own Appleseed Health Foods in Rockledge, for $20,000. Kurt Nall estimated that he is getting $175,000 to $200,000 worth of goods.
Anthony Clark can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 374-5094.
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