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Business in Vancouver

Single bidder shows up for Canadian mansion auction

Auction called off for private negotiations instead

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 1:45am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 2016, 1:32pm

The auction of Rockland mansion in the British Columbia, Canada city of Victoria was called off after only one bidder showed up Wednesday (June 22).

But that bidder — a local resident — may end up owning the 7,200-square-foot heritage house at 906 Pemberton Rd.

Negotiations were taking place on Wednesday night.

“We are going to work with that bidder privately,” said real estate agent Andy Stephenson of Sotheby’s International Realty Canada.

The bidder stayed out of the limelight, speaking with the owners privately in the kitchen.

Stephenson was optimistic about the eventual sale price, speculating it would be about US$1.53 million.

About 60 people showed up at the house to watch the auction play out in the 32-foot-long ballroom. Many were Rockland residents and real estate agents.

The event had a lively party atmosphere as real estate chatter filled the room. As a pianist played a grand piano, slender glasses of Prosecco were handed out.

The auction followed two weeks of open houses at the Samuel Maclure-designed house. The listing price for the property was US$1.529million.

The minimum reserve bid was not disclosed.

Stephenson had hoped that a number of bidders would be attracted to the auction, a marketing method that’s rare in Greater Victoria. Auctions are common in countries such as Australia and Ireland.

Stephenson estimated that about 2,000 people viewed the six-bedroom house during the open houses. There have been 2,600 hits on the video of the house posted on Sotheby’s website, he said.

Speaking of the turnout, he said, “Not everybody is comfortable being put on spectacle. So I think it would maybe be that kind of scenario.

“But I think bringing in the idea of the auction certainly elevated the profile of this property and allowed a lot of people to see it.”

The house is a single-family property with two strata titles. Townhouses are located on the same site behind the main house.

Ornate fireplaces, a billiards and media room, a 2,000-bottle wine cellar, and mahogany wall panels are among the mansion features.

Stephenson said he thinks other sellers might want to stage auctions in the future.

“I think there are a lot of people in this room that are probably thinking about it with their own homes,” he said.

“If we get a sale out of it, we have done our job.”

The auction idea was launched at a time when Greater Victoria’s real estate market is repeatedly setting monthly sale and price records.

Times Colonist