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July 13th, 2011

Mansion sells for $3.4M

Posted by Joan McGuigan


Hudson estate is auctioned off for less than half its original asking price.


“There’s really nothing in real estate that price can’t fix.”

A posh Hudson estate initially priced at $6.9 million in 2008 was purchased for less than half that amount Tuesday during Quebec’s first absolute auction.

GRAND ESTATES AUCTION COMPANY The Montreal-area waterfront estate features an indoor pool, separate guest house and a secret passage.

The sale of the eight-bedroom, 17,000-square-foot waterfront estate for $3.4 million includes a 10 per cent commissionfortheU.S.-based Grand Estates Auction Co., which organized the event.

A spokesperson for Great Estates said the Montreal-area mansion, which features an indoor pool, separate guest house and even a secret passage, attracted 23 bidders, while generating more than 500 inquiries and 200 showings.

Auctions, while popular in the United States and Australia, are a rarity in Canada. An absolute auction – where there is no reserve bid – involving a luxury estate is believed to be unprecedented.

The auction comes at a time when Canadians are increasingly considering alternatives to real estate brokers when selling their homes.

Last week, Propertyguys. com Inc., which helps people sell their own homes, joined forces with flat-fee brokerage Realtysellers Real Estate Inc. The merger will help owners outside of Quebec pay a flat fee and list their properties on, which generates the listings for the vast majority of home sales in Canada, the companies say. But market alternatives like auctions and sell-it-yourself websites are unlikely to replace traditional sales by brokers, said Don Campbell, president of the Vancouverbased Real Estate Investment Network.

“It’s not going to catch fire here,” Campbell said of luxury estate auctions. “It’s too much of a risk to the vendor. In our country, it doesn’t make sense for a vendor to go to auction.”

While Campbell has heard of cases of B.C. farmlands and foreclosed homes being purchasedinCanadathrough auctions, he wasn’t aware of any previous example of a luxury estate being sold to the highest bidder.

And unlike the case in Hudson, most auctions in Canada have a reserve bid, or a minimum selling price.

“I’m really and truly trying to figure out why you would want to sell it in an auction,” he said of the Oakleigh Estate in Hudson.

Initially listed with Profusion Realty Inc. for $6.9 million in 2008, the home was reduced to $5.4 million after it failed to sell. Louise Rémillard, president of Profusion, an exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate for the Greater Montreal area, said the sellers wouldn’t lower their price at the time, even though the home had a municipal evaluation of under $3.5 million.

“There’s really nothing in real estate that price can’t fix,” Rémillard said. “When a listing is priced correctly it sells.”

The owners of the mansion, John Hooper, 70 and Diane Bradshaw, 65, said they decided to auction off the home they built in 2000 after it failed to sell for more than two years through traditional means.

With a limited pool of local buyers with the means to buy such an estate, luxury homes often languish for more than a year in Montreal before being sold, brokers acknowledge. An even greater challenge for sellers like Hooper is that sales of luxury homes in Hudson, like other offisland suburbs, have been slow this year, largely because of increased congestion on Montreal-area roads, brokers say.

This year, the highestpriced home for sale in Hudson was purchased for $825,000, Multiple Listing Service data show.

Hooper, an entrepreneur and scientist who helped build the now defunct company Phoenix International Life Sciences Inc., could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.

But in an interview last week, Hooper said he was eager to sell the estate so he and Bradshaw could travel the world.

Rémillard, who specializes in high-end real estate, said she believes the couple sold the home below market value, especially considering that the latest school and property taxes on the estate amount to $41,000 a year.

The current municipal evaluation of the estate is more than $4.3 million.

“Had he sold before he wouldn’t have had two years of headaches,” she said. “Forty-one thousand dollars a year will give you a lot of opportunities to travel.”

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  • 13 Jul 2011
  • The Gazette
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