When the gavel isn’t final

<i>While some NYC developers attempt to unload units through auctions, bids are often just a starting point for negotiations</i>

At right: The Locale in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, is one of the New York condo buildings to auction its units recently.

From the April issue: When is an auction of residential real estate not really a sale to the highest bidder? The answer, it turns out, is: far more often than you might think.

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With the high-profile auctions of luxury condos at the Locale in Greenpoint and Solaria in Riverdale in recent months, plus upstart auction firm Bid on the City’s $1 starting bid sale in February in Manhattan, auction fever has been sweeping New York. Hundreds of potential buyers have salivated at a chance to score a New York City home at a far-below-market price simply by placing a winning bid and closing a sale soon after.

Scratch the surface of recent residential real estate auctions in the New York metro area, however, and a far more complicated scenario emerges.

For many auctioneers in New York, these bids are serving mainly as starting points for negotiations that lead to prices far higher than the winning bids. [more]

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