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RISMEDIA, May 11, 2007-(MCT)-Brokers are finding it difficult to move million-dollar homes right now and are coming up with new ways — such as last weekend’s silent auction — to stir up interest.Gallery of Properties, a real estate company that specializes in resort properties, held what may have been the Grand Strand’s first silent auction for a residential home on Saturday and Sunday.

Broker-in-charge Doug LaVay said he doesn’t think a silent auction has been used to sell a residential home on the Strand until now. He said the large amount of high-end homes on the market and the seller’s motivation to sell led him to decide to hold the auction, saying silent auctions have proved successful in other markets.

“The Myrtle Beach market right now is very, very soft, especially in the upper brackets,” LaVay said.
Currently, 565 homes and condos over $1 million are for sale in Horry and Georgetown counties, according to the Multiple Listing Service. About 59 million-dollar properties have sold since Jan. 1. That’s down from 72 properties over $1 million sold in the same time period last year.

LaVay said the Grande Dunes home had “tremendous exposure” during the two-day silent auction. But none of the bids were acceptable to the seller, and the home at 1676 Serena Drive didn’t sell. It has been on the market at $2.695 million since October.

One home in Grande Dunes has sold since the first of this year, according to MLS. There are 69 homes on the market in the high-end neighborhood.

The auction did, however, stimulate “droves of interest,” LaVay said, and gives the seller a list of potential buyers for continued marketing.

“In today’s very soft market, you need to be doing something differently. The auction determines what the buyer is willing to pay,” he said.

The sellers chose not to disclose the price of the final bid.

“We had a number of people looking for good buys in today’s market,” he said.

His company expects to use the new selling tool again soon.

Several homeowners at the auction said they were interested in using a silent auction to generate interest in their homes.

“We’ll be doing this concept with other properties. We want to be a trendsetter,” LaVay said.

Copyright © 2007, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.