• Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty suspended auction sales of 28 luxury lakefront condominium units on Lake Conway Saturday after potential bidders overreacted to a week of bad economic news that included airline layoffs, record high gas price hikes, an increase in unemployment and a plunging stock market.

    “We had very strong interest in the project prior to auction,” said Roger Soderstrom, founder and owner of Stirling Sotheby’s International Realty. Registered auction bidders included airlines employees who appreciated the proximity to Orlando International Airport, young executives who saw an opportunity to live in a spectacular lakefront setting at a discounted price, and baby boomers seeking a carefree lifestyle.

    Conway Crest Auction “Based on the high level of interest before the auction and bidder registration, we anticipated auction bids would top out in the $420,000 to $460,000 price range,” Soderstrom said. However bidders seemed very reluctant and sales were suspended after the second unit went on the block.

    Soderstrom said he was concerned news about airline industry woes would hamper bidding. “Every day last week, we saw stories about airlines difficulties,” Soderstrom said. “They were eliminating flights between cities, mothballing aircraft, laying off employees. It’s hard to make a buying decision when your industry is crashing around you, no matter how good the deal is,” he said. On Friday—the day before the auction—oil prices rose nearly $10 per barrel and talk of $150-per-barrel oil by July dominated the news, along with 5.5 percent unemployment and a 400 point plunge in the stock market. “The timing was extremely unfortunate, and we anticipated at the start of the auction that we might have to suspend sales,” Soderstrom said.

    This mirrors to some extent the story that unfolded at Tradewinds in MetroWest a month or so ago, with unrealistic buyers expecting such unrealistically low prices that bidding was again suspended. The good news for buyers is that Conway Crest will now be offered for sale at closeout prices starting from $239,900 for poolside units and $295,900 for direct lake front – apparently below the cost to construct – with a 10 percent buyers premium. The offer will be good for the next 30 days, with twenty-four condominium units available – most with a front on Lake Conway.

    An attractive financing package is also available – and with mortgages being half the battle right now, that’s good news.

    See this link for updated (2012) info on Conway Crest.

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