One-bedroom apartment goes for $82K at first auction in Minsk

Showman-turned-auctioneer Viktar Shalkevich mocks at Belarus’s millionaires at the first housing auction in Minsk.

The first housing auction took place in the Belarusian capital, with 19 apartments in a new house in north-west Minsk gone off the hammer.

The auction was organized by the Minsk City Real Estate Center. MAPID Ltd, the company that constructed the house, appeared as a seller. Popular showman Viktar Shalkevich was invited to lead the action.

A one-bedroom apartment was sold at Br175 million, 120 percent up from the initial price. The cost of the other apartments rose 50 percent. A four-bedroom apartment was sold the most expensive at Br362 million against the initial price of Br190 million.

The auction displayed that Belarusians were not used to these auction sums.

Viktar Shalkevich: “During an auction, betting steps amount to 5-15 percent. Not less than 5 percent and not more than 15 percent. If I announce the initial price of Br210 million, the next bet would be Br225 million”.

While three buyers were ready to depart with Br210 million for a two-bedroom apartment, none would bet Br225 million for it.

Viktar Shalkevich: “If you keep behaving in this way, we will have to remove this apartment from auction. We have the right to do so in accordance with the auction’s commission”.

But Viktar managed to find a way out. Eventually, the lot was sold for over Br222 million.

Viktar Shalkevich: “My friends. If you don’t like the amount of the step, please propose yours. Just make it vocal so that we all could hear”.

Those who took part in the first auction but failed to buy an apartment are eligible for competition in the next three auctions.

Every citizen of Belarus who can afford to cover the apartment’s total cost within 14 days is eligible for this auction.

In order to take part in the auction, the members of the public are invited to file an application with the organizers, pay a non-refundable fee of Br45,000 and make a security deposit in the amount of 10 percent of the initial cost. The deposit will be recovered by owner if he or she fails to buy an apartment during the auction.

Shalkevich led the auction with his characteristic humor. His last words after the auction closed were: “Thank you very much. Please find your way out quietly. You are millionaires. You are normal people. Don’t stampede in the corridors”.

In spite of the apartment costs having risen 50 percent of the initial price, they ended up in figures close the ones at the country's real estate market.