Volatile Land Prices Point Sellers and Buyers to Auction

As seen in the Kansas City Star

The Federal Reserve Board estimates that the value of non-farm land in the United States (excluding structures) exceeded $17 trillion at the height of the real estate boom in 2006. While gyrations in the overall real estate market are common knowledge, the American Enterprise Institute reported in June of last year that “land prices have been more volatile than structure prices” since 2002.

That same report noted that land, and its widely ranging values, affects virtually every aspect of the economy… and is affected by it. Beyond the obvious agricultural uses, individuals and organizations need land for living and conducting business. Even huge internet companies like Google and eBay depended on multi-acre campuses to run their high tech operations.

Combining the volatile nature of land values with the ubiquitous need for land presents a conundrum for players in the land market. As a result, circumstances sometimes change rapidly for land owners, causing unexpected opportunities for land buyers. Enter auction.

Cates Auction & Realty Company has been bringing land sellers and buyers together for 71 years and the schedule of auctions in 2013 continues that tradition. By their very nature, tracts of land differ greatly by location, size, characteristics and use. According to company president, Jeff Cates, when combined with economic uncertainties, these factors make land very difficult to value, especially when development is likely the highest and best use. Cates is often overheard repeating his favorite mantra, “Auction is the purest form of price discovery.” (It is even in his email signature!)

When a land owner is also looking for an accelerated sale, perhaps due to an unexpected change of circumstances or other unforeseen opportunity, an auction adds the benefit of speed and a date-certain sale that an ordinary listing cannot guarantee. Cates vice president, Greg Duncan, points out that because development land is unique, often the buyer pool is very small. “Our sellers are well-vetted. They are realistic and have confidence that a well-orchestrated auction campaign will surface qualified buyers.” He adds, “Buyers, in turn, can have confidence in the true opportunity to purchase excellent land at auction.”

Such an opportunity exists right now for development land just off I-435 and Missouri Highway 152 which is being sold at “absolute” auction on May 1st. The approximately 50 acres is divided into 3 tracts and all are being sold without a seller’s reserve. A 27 acre tract is zoned for apartments, an 18 acre tract is zoned for townhomes and a 4 acre tract is zoned for retail. At the auction bidders may bid on individual tracts or combinations.

The land is owned by an out-of-state bank and was originally listed for more than $5,000,000. “The bank is no longer interested in holding these parcels and is willing to accept the highest bid(s) at auction,” says Duncan. He adds that “unlike some bank-owned land in the middle of nowhere, these tracts have major highway access and are adjacent to established single family homes, townhomes and existing commercial businesses.”

The auction will take place May 1st at the nearby “Brass Rail” sports bar and grill. Anticipating out-of-town interest, the company will also be facilitating synchronous live online bidding. “When the gavel falls, there will be a new owner and someone will have taken advantage of a tremendous opportunity!” says Cates.

Just a few weeks later, on May 23, the company will be selling two tracts of desirable commercial land in Blue Springs, Missouri, near the Kohl’s Distribution Center off I-70 and Adams Dairy Parkway. A 6 acre tract is zoned Neighborhood Business and a 9.76 acre tract is zoned Light Industrial. The auction will take place at the Adams Pointe Conference Center. Five commercial development lots in Lone Jack, Missouri, will be sold the same day.

More information on these auctions as well as upcoming auctions of residential homes and commercial buildings can be found at www.CatesAuction.com. Interested bidders are encouraged to download Property Information Packages and attend scheduled inspections. Questions may also be asked by calling 816-781-1134 or emailing Sold@CatesAuction.com. Property owners wishing to explore a possible accelerated auction marketing strategy are also welcome to contact the company for a free auction analysis.

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I chose Cates because of their reputation and the encouragement of friends who have used them in the past. The Cates staff can only be described as professional, knowledgeable and service oriented. Jeff and his staff took care of everything. They covered all bases and took into consideration every …
Phil McCauley
We are Kansas City's oldest and most experienced real estate auction company specializing in accelerated real estate sales in Missouri and Kansas, including Overland Park, Lenexa, Shawnee, Leawood, Kansas City, Lee's Summit, Olathe, Blue Springs, Independence, Liberty, Kearney, Parkville, Smithville, Gladstone, Clay County, Platte County, Jackson County, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Leavenworth County, Cass County, Lake of the Ozarks, Lake Ozark, Sunrise Beach, Osage Beach, Four Seasons, Shawnee Bend, Miller County, Camden County, and around the Midwest. Kansas City auctioneers with regional expertise!