Going, going..: Collier condos selling in December auction already attracting attention

— It’s going, going, gone for 55 condominiums at Granada Lakes Villas in eastern Collier County.

At least, that’s what the seller hopes.

A sign in front of the community at the intersection of Radio Road and Santa Barbara Boulevard advertises the condos will be sold at a Dec. 6 auction.

The project went from apartments to condos a few years ago but it was a late comer in the conversion craze that hit Southwest Florida back in 2004.

The craze was part of a national trend driven by low-interest rates, skyrocketing construction costs and a scarcity of land in prime locations.

“It’s a developer close-out sale,” said Mike Delgado, a spokesman for Real Estate Empire in Miami, which is handling the auction. “He hasn’t even tried to sell the property since the market went down.”

Collier County property records show that Metro-Dade Investments Co. in Coral Gables still owns more than 50 condominiums in the community.

The auction sign out front is bringing interest. On Sunday alone, the auction company received 150 calls, Delgado said.

Up for sale are one- and two-bedroom condominiums. Interested buyers don’t have to wait for the auction, Delgado said.

“Any buyer can just put in an offer and we’ll go from there,” he said.

Auctions of this type are becoming increasingly common. They attract a mix of buyers including investors and soon-to-be retirees, Delgado said.

“We just did another one with 190 units in the Orlando area,” he said. “All 190 were sold.” Most of the condos will be sold for cash. “The developer does offer some financing,” Delgado said.

A property manager answering the phone at the main office said she knew nothing about the auction. She referred questions to an attorney, who could not be reached for comment.

Granada Lakes Villas has 248 condos on 40 acres. The community is gated. It includes four lakes, a clubhouse with two resort-style swimming pools, a spa and a fitness center.

Condominiums range from 634 square feet to 1,181 square feet.

The community — like many other condo conversions in town — has been plagued by foreclosures and short sales. Prices have dropped along with the market.

Since January 2007, there have been 58 foreclosure judgments in the community and 38 of those have been in the past year, said Ross McIntosh, a Naples real estate broker and founder of The Bidder’s Broker, which represents bidders at auction.

“The rate of foreclosures would appear to be accelerating,” he said.

He said 27 of the 38 properties that had final foreclosure judgments in the last year have sold at courthouse auctions.

“What’s interesting is that almost all of these properties have been taken back by the banks,” McIntosh said.

In the past year, 28 condos at Granada Lakes Villas have sold through the multiple listing service, or MLS. The highest price paid was $55,000. The lowest was $19,800, McIntosh said.

He said there are four active listings in the community. Two are banked-owned and priced at $23,900 and $39,900. The other two condos are individually owned and going for $58,000 and $89,900.

“Clearly pricing is driven by foreclosures and bank sales,” McIntosh said.

County records show there have been more than 100 default notices filed against buyers in the community, which is the first step in foreclosure, according to an analysis done by one owner, Ted Vera.

On a Web site he created — glvowners.com — he gives updates about the foreclosure scene.

In a recent post, he said, “I did a lot of research before buying a unit at Granada Lakes and hoped that by sharing, I could make it easier for those who follow in my footsteps.”

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