Prairie Path Villas in Lombard

Downtown developers aren’t the only ones troubled by a drastic downturn in condo sales.

Many suburban developers are also struggling to unload condo inventory. In Lombard (at 310 South Main Street), one developer is offering 18 condos at auction later this month—and the terms of the auction suggest a handful of buyers could walk away with bargain-basement deals.

Only 10 of the 36 condos at the Prairie Path Villas have been sold since the three-story building was completed at the start of 2008. Now the project’s developer, D. A. George Construction, has enlisted the auctioneer Westar Properties to sell off 18 of the remaining units on Sunday, November 23rd. (The developer is holding on to the other eight units to sell conventionally after the auction.)

According to Westar’s Steven Baumann, the first six units auctioned will be sold “absolute.” That means the seller has agreed to accept the top bid no matter what (instead of auctioning the six units with a “reserve,” or the right to say the top bid was too low and the property won’t be let go). Here’s the bargain part: the auctioneer’s suggested opening bids range from $125,000 to $150,000 for condos that were originally listed at prices from $336,000 to $416,000. The first six successful top bidders could walk away with some remarkable deals. (Before attending the November 23rd auction, you will want to attend an open house and learn the rules of the auction.)

Bids on the subsequent 12 units might go higher or lower than those first six, Baumann says. But what’s his advice given his 25 years of auction experience? “I’d tell the bidders to bid aggressively on the first six,” he says. It is possible, Baumann adds, that after the first cluster of sales, the developer will opt to let more units go absolute.

Turkey Call

On Thanksgiving Day, I plan to post my second annual list of turkeys—homes that have, for a variety of reasons (including aesthetics, location, and other factors), sat unsold for a long time. Is there a turkey near you? If so, e-mail me the property’s address and other pertinent information by Thursday, November 20th. Check back here on November 27th for my report.