Seahaven Condos Sold for 60% Off and More

Suffering through a shadowy frigid 50 degree temperature, bidders and spectators alike gathered in anticipation in the hottest condominium auction to hit Panama City Beach.  The party was held under the covered portacache at Origin in the Towne of Seahaven just 1/2 mile east of Pier Park on Panama City Beach.

Even as late as 12:40 pm, the crowd looked sparse, of course, maybe it appeared to be spread thin as the area was large and people were scattered all over.  A childhood technique comes to mind to give the appearance of a eaten dinner – spread the food around a little to make a lot look like a little, and break for an early desert.

Bidder registrations were at a scant 30 something when I arrived on the scene at 12 noon, although I was unable to get a definitive number.  I was able to confirm after the auction had begun that a total 54 had registered to bid.

“I’m looking  to buy 40 cents on the dollar,” said one registered bidder, indicating the smell of blood in the air.  “I’ll probably offer $200,000 for a 2 bedroom,” said another bidder, “not sure if I’ll get it, but I’ll try.”  He later signed the paperwork for a 3 bedroom for his original budget of $200k.  At the end of the day, his purchase was the least per square foot purchase of all the condos offered for sale at the auction.  He bought a 1963 square foot condo for $112.07 per square foot, after the buyer’s premium.   “It’s always a little risky bidding first,” he said, “but nobody was bidding, so I just through out a number and I actually got it.”

It took a while for the crowd to wake up, but once they did, a feeding frenzy much like what was seen at Palazzo ensued.  The market price seemed to be set by a few winning bidders, then the National Auction Group began working with interested parties to negotiate and sell a total of 37 condos.

What I found interesting was that at some point, the actual auction stopped but real estate continued to sell.  The National Auction agents seemed to change modes from auctioneers to negotiators bringing offers and deals back and forth between attendees and the developer.  In fact, only 9 condos actually sold auction style – all the others happened after the fact.

As the cold wore on and the crowd again grew scarce, condo sales were still being picked off one by one.  The average price per square foot sold after the buyer’s premium was $166 with a range from $112/sf to $196/sf.

I should note that if you were following the live updates that I was posting as the auction was happening, all the sold prices stated were BEFORE the 10% buyers premium.  The action was just happening too fast for me to take notes, send in updates AND do another calculation.

Out of the condos that were sold when I left only 3 were pool/center view, indicating that with the lower than expected prices, the developer is reserving the ‘premium’ units for a higher price.

Talking with Neel and Mike Bennett several times throughout the auction, they both expressed their concern for the market and the desire of a higher price being commanded from their product offering. Many owners are upset because of the auction as it certainly makes clear the value of these beautiful condominiums at Origin in the Towne of Seahaven.

Being an owner, it certainly hurts to know how upside down we are right now, but at least we know – and “knowing is half the battle,” as a wise G.I. Joe commercial once said.

I’ve been criticized in the past for sticking up for the developer, but in this case I stick up for them not because they are friends, but from a business stand point.  The reality is that even though we are significantly upside down, our hurt doesn’t hold a candle to that of the developer.  We’d all like the market to be a lot better than what it is now.  Everyday we have to fight for an appetite because of all the money we’ve lost.  The fact is that there is nothing we can do about it, we are were we are.  For the developer, the best thing to do is get rid of as much inventory as he can – that is the only way he can move forward.  If he doesn’t do it, the bank will, he can’t hold onto unsold condos forever.

This auction is another testement to what I’ve been telling everyone for months – Now is the time to be buying real estate.  Prices are better now then they’ve been in several years.

Below is the unit number/price breakdown for all the condos sold when I left Saturday.  I’m hoping to have some final numbers soon, and will post them when I do.

It is my understanding that the Bennetts (developer) are still taking deals.  If you need more information on this, or help purchasing a condo, feel free to contact me at or 850-319-1172.

Sold condos – all numbers are after 10% buyer’s premium with the bold units being the ones that are on the inside of the horseshoe.

Unit # Type SF Price Price/SF
1033/1035 3 Bedroom Lock B 1781 $297,000 $166.76
1133/1135 3 Bedroom Lock B 1781 $297,000 $166.76
1433/1435 3 Bedroom Lock B 1781 $297,000 $166.76
1701 3 Bedroom D 1963 $220,000 $112.07
429 2 Bedroom B 1427 $221,100 $154.94
1432 2 Bedroom E 1293 $210,000 $178.65
501/503 2 Bedroom Lock A 1306 $220,000 $168.45
535/537 2 Bedroom Lock A 1306 $220,000 $168.45
1425/1427 2 Bedroom Lock C 1303 $176,000 $135.07
1232 1 Bedroom A 815 $137,500 $168.71
1031 1 Bedroom B 881 $143,000 $162.32
1331 1 Bedroom B 881 $143,000 $162.32
1407 1 Bedroom B 881 $137,500 $156.07
729 Studio B 541 $93,500 $172.83
809 Studio B 541 $93,500 $172.83
733 Studio A 475 $93,500 $196.84
805 Studio A 475 $93,500 $196.84
933 Studio A 475 $93,500 $196.84
1234 Studio A 475 $93,500 $196.84
423 Studio C 465 $60,500 $130.11
525 Studio C 465 $75,900 $163.23
1023 Studio C 465 $75,900 $163.23
1125 Studio C 465 $75,900 $163.23
719 Studio D 562 $75,900 $163.23
819 Studio D 562 $75,900 $163.23

Seahaven Auction Details

29 Seahaven Condos to be Sold at Absolute Auction on December 13th

For the National Auction Group, one successful project often leads to others. That has been the case in Panama City Beach this year where the company will conduct its third auction on Saturday, December 13th. This one will feature 29 luxurious condominium homes in the Gulf-view Origin at Seahaven community. The auction will be absolute, meaning regardless of price, and bidders will be able to select from 61 condos.  The Gadsden, Alabama-based company specializes in the marketing of one-of-a-kind, high-end properties. In two previous Panama City Beach projects this year they sold more than $26 million worth of condos.

The 17-story Origin at Seahaven community is brand new and located near Pier Park. Water views are tantalizing and are close to the most popular beach restaurants, attractions and night spots.  All are crafted from the finest materials and with painstaking attention to the smallest details. The wide array of offerings includes studio units as well as spacious one, two and three bedroom units, and one four-bedroom penthouse condo. All have to be seen to fully appreciate.

The Origin tower is one of the first phases of the carefully planned Towne of Seahaven, a 53-acre pedestrian village with 1,400 +/- feet directly on the Gulf of Mexico. Expected facets include hotels, town homes, a town hall and a Main Street marketplace, an events plaza and a water park. In other words, the value of the luxurious condos will surely escalate over the next few years.

All of the condos feature attractive African mahogany two-panel doors; kitchens with Whirlpool appliances, granite and porcelain countertops and custom cabinets; ceiling fans in both the living areas and master bedrooms, and washers and dryers in the two-bedroom and larger units. Included in the purchase are electronics, linens, window treatments, kitchenware, accessories and high speed internet access.

Rental-ready furniture packages are available for purchase.

The list of community amenities is both endless and extraordinarily impressive.  Residents and their guests enjoy a fully-equipped fitness center, his and her saunas, a theater with stadium seating for 24, a spectacular Zero-Edge swimming pool overlooking the Gulf, a heated and covered spa, observation decks, grilling terraces with built-in commercial grade stainless steel grills and a game room. Origin at Seahaven also features 24-hour security, climate-controlled storage units, high-speed elevators, on-site property management and beautiful tropical landscaping.

“These are truly wonderful condominiums,” said National Auction Group president William Bone. “And being part of the new Towne of Seahaven makes them even more special. This is a remarkable opportunity to bid on spectacular residential fantasies and to purchase an incomparable beach lifestyle.”

These lavish condos are available for viewing daily, by appointment, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  To schedule an appointment, please call 877-636-6550 or 256-547-3434.  Bidders will be required to bring $7,500 in personal check, business check or certified funds to bid on the studio units; $10,000 for the one-bedroom units; $12,500 for the two-bedroom condos; $15,000 for the three-bedroom units and $20,000 for the four-bedroom penthouse condos.  Closing will be within 30 days. The auction will take place at Origin at Seahaven community which is located at 15100 Front Beach Road.

The National Auction Group (, Inc. is the country’s largest seller of private, one-of-a-kind real estate properties such as estates, ranches, farms, commercial properties and recreational facilities. Recognized for its creative and aggressive marketing strategies which are carefully planned, promoted, scheduled and implemented, the National Auction Group’s team of talented professionals is skilled at developing plans of action customized to the needs of each client.

Auction at Towne of Seahaven

On December 13th, 2008 an auction will be held on site at Origin, at the Towne of Seahaven.

They will sell 29 condos with over 60 to choose from, including 2, 3, and 4 bedroom options.  It is being advertised as no minimums and no reserves with the auction to begin at 11 am CST.

Registered bidders will be expected to bring a deposit (listed below) and pay a 10% buyers premium on top of the final auction price they purchased at.

Deposit amounts:

Studio: $7,500

1 Bedroom: $10,000

2 Bedroom: $12,500

3 Bedroom: $15,000

4 Bedroom: $20,000

More Information

35 Condos Sold at Ocean Reef Auction

Expectations were high, and so was the attendance.  After the wildly successful Palazzo auction, many came interested in seeing “where the market was”, and many more came to have an opportunity at getting a good deal.  At the end, many agreed that the market was at the bottom and that prices wouldn’t come down much more, if any, from this number.  On the other hand, many more still agreed that the market still has some room for correction.

There was an estimated 400 in attendance with 126 registered bidders from 17 states and 2 countries.  When asked at the beginning who was from Panama City Beach, few raised their hands indicating this type of selling forum definitely attracts out-of-towners.

“I was wanting to move back to the states in 2006, but the prices were way too high, this may be my chance to come back, ” said Jerry from the Dominican Republic before the auction hoping to get a good deal.

“I’m hoping to get in at around $140,000 to $150,000 on a two bedroom,” said one local agent, who was also a registered bidder, “I won’t go much higher than $150,000.”

Before the auction began, the energy was great.  There were people everywhere with not one empty seat and many people standing anywhere they could find an unoccupied piece of concrete.  Bidder packets were being shuffled, pads were being prepared for note taking, and calculators were at the ready.

“You have to factor in the 10% buyers premium in all price per square foot calculations,” said one bidder, “the final auction price, is not the final sold price.”

The auction started with the 4 bedroom configuration on the block at an ambitious $500,000 that was quickly corrected to $300,000.  The first bid came in at $310,000.  The first 4 bedroom condo sold for $340,000, $374,000 after the buyer’s premium, or $233.75 per square foot.

“That number has got to come down, there’s no way all of them will sell at that price,” said the guy sitting next to me.

The very next condo was started at $310,000.  After no bids, a member in the audience yelled “$305,000.”  Two minutes later, the feeding frenzy started.  $305,000 was the magic number, with 8 four-bedroom 1,600 square foot condos selling at that price.  After the 10% buyer’s premium, the final price was $335,500, or $209.69 per square foot.

The two bedroom, 1,146 square foot condos were next.  Talking around, this was the most desirable size.  The majority of the buyers were price-point buyers, wanting to get in for as little as possible.

The two bedroom auction started at $300,000, was brought down to $225,000, then $210,000, then $205,000 – SOLD!  The magic number for the two bedroom configuration was $205,000, $225,500 after the buyer’s premium or $196.77 per square foot. 16 two bedroom condos were sold for $205,000.

Including the pre-sold condos, all-in-all, 35 condos were sold generating an estimated $8.839 million.  Initially, the developer offered 31 condos for sale.

After the price was set at $205,000 for the two bedroom, the auctioneers said the developer wouldn’t sell for less than that.  At this announcement, approximately half the audience rose from their seat to exit.  The line for those wanting their deposit checks back crossed the entire length of the pavement.  Many were disappointed that not all of the condos were sold like a true auction, many didn’t want to pay more than their targeted $140k-$150k price range, and still others understood, but were still looking for a sweeter deal.

The real question here is whether we are at bottom.  The sold price at Ocean Reef was less than Palazzo, but many agreed that Palazzo was nicer and justified the higher price.

One thing is for sure, if you are a developer and you want to dump some condos, auction seems to be a good choice.  “Panama City has turned out to be an incredible market for condos. This clearly demonstrates the pent-up demand and shows that there’s no reason for condo developers to sit on unsold inventory when they can be sold efficiently and quickly by auction,” said William Bone, President of National Auction Group.