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Developers offer discounts

Sun., June 7, 2009

CdA projects drop prices to spur condo sales

The owners of two condominium developments along the Spokane River in Coeur d’Alene have deeply discounted more than 50 units to get potential buyers down from the fence.

On July 12, 36 units at the Village at Riverstone will be auctioned, with reserve prices up to 55 percent off former list. The auction had been scheduled for next Sunday, but project marketing manager Mark Hensley said potential buyers from outside the area were telling salespeople school closings and other family priorities would not allow them enough time to get to Coeur d’Alene and walk through the property.

“People start filtering in about the first of July,” he said.

Hensley said advertising had generated 1,200 leads and 500 viewings of the one-, two- and three-bedroom condos on Old Mill Loop between Northwest Boulevard and the river. Minimum prices range from $180,000 to $490,000, compared with the $329,000 to $899,000 once asked.

The Village at Riverstone is owned by Riverstone Center East LLC, an affiliate of SRM Development.

Meanwhile, Bellerive developer Marshall Chesrown has marked down prices up to 35 percent on condos and single-family homes in the same area. Those listings once started at $400,000 and $1.5 million, respectively.

Chesrown, whose fortunes have suffered in the real estate bust, said the market gives developers two choices: “You continue to carry these things, or you move on.

“The best thing to do is clean up the balance sheet.”

Several units have sold since the discounts took effect, Chesrown said.

In a market with more condos than buyers, developers must create some excitement if they want to convert lookers into buyers, he said.

“There’s plenty of people shopping,” Chesrown said.

Although discounting hurts those who bought their units when the market was stronger, Chesrown said all benefit when maintenance fees are spread among more owners. And the pricing simply reflects reality, he said, adding that the would-be flippers of new properties who inflated prices a few years ago are no longer buying.

Chesrown said the discounts were not a response to the pending Riverstone sale.

“We hope the auction’s a big success,” he said.

The auctioneer is Kennedy Wilson, a firm based in Beverly Hills, Calif. President Rhett Wilson said the sale will move in a single day units that might otherwise be on the market for another two years.

He said prices at other auctions have come in close to minimum, or much higher, but in almost every case at a discount to original list. A May auction of condos in Austin, Texas, did not sell out, but a March sale in Seattle did, he said.

The auction will begin at 1 p.m. at The Coeur d’Alene Resort. A how-to-buy seminar will be held today at noon at the Village at Riverstone Auction Information Office at 2362 Old Mill Loop. A second seminar has not yet been scheduled.

Hensley said ever-slumping prices have kept buyers on the sidelines for the last 2 ½ years.

“We won’t have those prices after July 12,” he said.


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