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BEVERLY HILLS, CA-Kennedy Wilson has struck a deal with Noblehouse Realty LLC of Ft. Lauderdale, FL to auction multifamily properties in the Florida market through an auction and investment company created by the two firms. Rhett Winchell, a Kennedy Wilson SVP, tells GlobeSt.com that the new arrangement with Noblehouse will expand Kennedy Wilson’s already active auction platform, which has been selling condo units in Southern California on behalf of developers and builders.

According to Jeffrey Lax, president of Noblehouse, the company is “partnering with Kennedy Wilson in conducting auctions for the benefit of third parties as well as acquiringreal estate as a principal.” Winchell tells GlobeSt.com that with an oversuppy of condominiums already existing in Florida, “We think there is going to be quite a bit of condo inventory over the next two years” in the state.

“By and large, the business we are going after is buildings that are either on the market now or are under construction,” Winchell says. He notes that Kennedy Wilson has already conducted two condo auctions in Southern California, one in Irvine and one in Azusa, both of which sold all of the units that were offered.

Whether the auction business will expand into other markets of the country, “Only time will tell,” Winchell says. He says that whether Kennedy Wilson expands into other geographic areas with its auctions will be “based on what happens in the markets over the next six months or a year.”

Prices have depreciated significantly in a number of parts of the country, so developers and builders in those areas are looking for options, and auctions are one of the options they’re considering, Winchell observes. Although developers and builders typically turn to auctions in a down market, he comments that auctions can also help sellers to obtain better prices in an up market through marketing campaigns that create demand for the units.

In both the Orange County and the Los Angeles County condo auctions that the company conducted, Winchell notes, the developers were selling only a few units per month but are now selling eight to 12 units per month after the auctions. The Kennedy Wilson auction process typically includes a high-profile newspaper advertising campaign, along with direct mail and emails to local buyers, brokers and renters.

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