I don't think that an absolute auction in our current market establishes a ceiling. Auctions are not contingent upon financing, inspections, etc. By it being an absolute auction in our down market, the seller's motivation is probably generally acknowledged as "highly motivated." Also, the buyer pool is rather small at auctions. If those units were listed, at the selling prices, they would have sold long ago.
How many are currently listed at $140K?
Spine doc, its all a matter of how aggressive you want to be in RE at the beach. You do good in stocks cause you follow it closely and probably do not depend on others to provide you with advice. I don't have that kind of time to watch the ticker tape, be that analytical and read the news and shift through the BS. Unless you have a good finacial adviser you can trust, then its a little easier.
Regarding RE down on the coast. There are lots of good buys but you first need a RE agent who works sowal full time (not part time or as a hobby), been there several years, has access to comps for 15+ yrs. and knows your comfort/risk/goals level. He/She should know contractors, zoning, good vs bad lenders, etc.. I don't buy anything that is not water front or view or not in a large development. Those properties always rebounds first when there is a slump and climb the highest in a good market. I also don't buy condo's that don't have onsite management. I choose not to be involved in several deals at once, so I cherry pick. I also like properties that need repair work that I can do myself. I like RE that is in need of redecorating or a new coat of paint. Otherwise, find a contractor who has been down there for 10+ years for larger stuff and has not lost his license a dozen times (use myflorida.com). I like to find properties who need to sell vs those who don't. If you don't need to sell, now is not the time to do it. I am not into flipping..it's just to risky for me but if I was going to do it, I would buy in the fall and be out of it by June. I like property that I can pay cash for, fix up, rent for a couple of years, take the depreciation and then sale when I can double my investment (which normally is within 5 years). Shelly gives all the negative national news and tries to apply it here at sowal. Unfortunately some of it applies, but not all. This market is different and that is why I prefer it over any other RE in the country. Considering what I am buying...I am cherry picking and don't want competition. As much as I like "fixer-uppers" they are hard to come by at the moment. I think anything on the south side of the bay and east of destin is a good buy especially if its within 5 miles of Seaside. Of course anything within walking distance to Seaside, has a pool is going to be a winner and I believe you can say the same about Rosemary. Now folks who purchased in the middle of the forest, outside a development, well they have a long term investment. If you are looking to retire within next few years and don't want water front, you need to look at Eden's Landing. Just a short drive to the bay or beach, zone x and price is right for the property. The developer has been in sowal for a while, has a long record of quality construction and its going to be a "green community". It's more affordable than the high end developments but has a good vision and worth the risk of buying into it. Regarding slowness of this recovery...that blame lies with the county commissioners who continue to bend over and allow for over development, have not adequately addressed the tax issue or the beach issues. In fact, they may have already killed the golden goose who laid the gold egg.