Several weeks from now, South River Condominium in Annapolis will join the list of luxury condos in the Baltimore metropolitan area beingauctioned off to the highest bidder.
This fallout from the "soft luxury housing market" is a buyer's dream: Seven condos originally priced at $200,000 to $500,000 to be sold at any price.
That means luxury condos with marble foyers, master baths with whirlpools, private decks, gourmet kitchens and high ceilings are guaranteed sold to the highest bidder, even if the price falls under the suggested beginning bid of $50,000.
Quite a bargain, but better than not selling them at all, figures the developer of the South River adult community, who is holding the public auction July 13 to encourage sales.
In addition to the one-, two- and three-bedroom condos, which carry suggested opening bids of $50,000, $60,000 and $70,000, another 18 will be auctioned at the developer's discretion.
The auction, the first in the Annapolis area, follows similar auctions at TheColonnade and Scarlett Place in Baltimore.
Says president of the auction company, Steven L. Good, "What we're trying to create is a win-win situation for the developer and buyers. The developer cuts his carrying costs and jump-starts sales instead of waiting for the market to improve.
"The buyer gets a chance to own a luxury condominiumfor a fraction of the original price."
South River Condominium sits on 130 wooded acres west of Annapolis.
The $15 million, 64-unitbrick structure offers personal concierge service, card-key access security, an indoor/outdoor pool, fitness center and party room.
Anyone may purchase the condos, but one resident must be 55 years or older and no permanent resident may be younger than 18.
Since the building opened in mid-1990, eight of the condos have sold.
And so far, interest has been "disappointing" in the open houses, which give investors a chance to look at all 25 condos being auctioned, says Dave Schy, the auction coordinator.
"Maybe this is because the over-55 market is somewhat more narrow than the regular market," he says. "But it's an excellent chance for buyers."
South River Joint Venture, a Long Island-based group, developed the project as part of the 130-acre Heritage Harbour community.
Schy praises the decorating as "luxurious", the location as "excellent" and the amenities -- specifically the underground parking garage -- as "unique in Annapolis for aresidential building."
The condos also include the range of appliances, including General Electric double ovens and full-size washers and dryers.
The building itself has 9-inch slabs on the floors andheavy insulation in the walls to give people a maximum amount of privacy.
To inspect the property, the public is invited to open houseevents at the condos, 930 Astern Way off South Haven Road in Annapolis.
On-site inspections of every condo up for auction are being conducted from now until the auction, noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays. On July 4, the open house will be noon till 3 p.m.
The auction will be conducted July 13 at 11 a.m. at the Holiday Inn in Annapolis, near the intersection of Riva and Forest roads.
Eighty percent of people at auctions conducted by Sheldon Good & Co. around the country have never bid before,and the auction house strongly recommends people attend an open house and learn how to bid in advance, says Schy.
Interested parties will receive a complete bidder's package, with floor plans and financing information and a 10-minute presentation explaining how the bidding is conducted.