Going . . . going . . . gone.
Five Kamloops properties and another three at Sun Peaks Resort were auctioned Monday morning during tax sales at prices that represent a fraction of the assessed value.
At the city sale, Kamloops lawyer Murray Weeres, representing a numbered company, quickly put an end to bidding on three properties by ramping up winning bids of between $50,000 and $100,000.
A house at 737 Hemlock St., with an assessed value of $372,000, went for $76,000, while an apartment at 1605 Summit Dr. went for $100,000. A third apartment, on Tranquille Road, was auctioned to the company for $50,000.
Weeres said following the auction that his client is interested in the rate of return on the bids, rather than hoping that owners can't come up with between $3,500 and $10,000 in back taxes owing.
Owners of the five properties auctioned have one year to pay all outstanding property taxes and other fees owing. Otherwise, they end up turned over to Monday's successful bidders.
"It's an investment," Weeres said of the tax sale bids for a client. "You get prime (interest rate) plus three per cent. There's no expectation of getting the properties."
Successful bidders will receive six-per-cent interest on the amount of their bids until monies owed — ranging from $3,000 to $12,000 on the five properties — are paid to the city.
About 30 people attended the tax sale, which was held in city council chambers.
"I'm in the market, looking at houses," said Jennifer Edgecombe. "We wanted to see what the deal was."
Edgecombe, who did not place a bid on any property, said she's curious to find out if any of the properties are turned over to bidders in a year.
City revenue and taxation manager Marlie Worrin said that's unlikely. There are mortgages on several of the properties, meaning lenders will likely step in to protect their money.
History also shows that properties are rarely turned over to bidders in the end.
"We haven't had a property not redeemed since before 2005."
At Sun Peaks Resort, three properties up for tax sale all went for less than $3,000 each. Municipal finance director Nicky Braithwaite said the units were condo hotel rooms, valued at around $20,000 each.