Raising the paddle to the luxury market

by Olivia D'Orazio16 Mar 2015
Auctions haven’t yet found a way to infiltrate the Canadian real estate market, but could this new attempt at the selling method finally take hold?

“Auctions are very popular in the United States and other countries,” says Barry Cohen, a broker in Toronto who is selling his listing on the exclusive Bridle Path via auction. “We thought we’d explore a different venue.”

Agents dealing in the neighbourhood are certainly watching how this auction goes. After all, Toronto real estate certainly doesn’t need the helping hand that the frenzy of auctions tend to provide.

“Auctions are not normal in Toronto real estate,” says sales rep Brian Schneidman, who specializes in the city’s high-end market. “There are very few properties that are marketed for sale using auctions, but it is an option.”

While auctions remain a relatively unexplored marketing method, several hot markets across Canada do have their own way to feed a buying frenzy: offer dates.

“[Holding back offers] is quite similar to a bidding war,” says Marissa Friedman, an agent also selling in the Bridle Path neighbourhood of Toronto. “The only difference between a bidding war and an auction is that the auction is more formal. With a house that’s that high priced, there aren’t as many people attracted to it or who can afford it.”

Therein lies the draw to auctions for luxury sellers: qualified buyers are more likely to be attracted to the longer, more formal process of home buying. Schneidman says auctions represent exclusive events in the world of real estate, while Friedman says the marketing strategy creates excitement and interest in a property that has a limited buyer pool.

For the Bridle Path property, Cohen says the sellers thought an auction was a great avenue through which to sell the property, which at 90 per cent completion, is still customizable.

“The concept is very interesting,” Cohen says. “The last auction I witnessed was successful in the auction process. I think it’s unique… It will be an exciting process to witness.”

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