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D.R. Horton: It's Now Down To The Highest Bidder?

Wednesday, 26 Sep 2007 | 2:57 PM ET

Forgive me for posting a little bit late today, but I’ve been waiting for a call back from the press contact at D.R. Horton all morning, and now that it’s afternoon, I’ve decided to give up. I called the company (three times) to ask for a bit more information regarding an auction of 53 new D.R. Horton-built homes in San Diego this weekend. The two communities where the homes reside are called La Boheme and Esperanza. I know this because I checked the auction company Web site.

Checking the D.R. Horton Web site will do you no good, because neither name is listed under its San Diego communities. However, if you Google “DR Horton” and “La Boheme”, you get the following page so you know that the community has been surgically removed from the company’s history.

I was calling DR Horton to find out if the company had sold the properties off to some other entity, which is auctioning the properties (mostly condos), or if Horton hired this auction company to unload the properties for Horton itself. But alas, no return call.

We’ve been doing quite a bit of reporting on foreclosure auctions as well as big “fire sale” type deals from the big builders, like Hovnanian , but this is the first home builder auction I’ve seen yet, and I’m curious why they’re taking this course, rather than trying to sell the properties at a discount. For some reason, just the word auction, which when it comes to properties usually implies a foreclosure, makes me think the sale is due to dire circumstances. I have nothing on which to base this assumption other than my knowledge of the marketplace.

San Diego is currently one of the worst real estate markets in the country. S&P/Case Shiller’s price index out this week shows home prices in San Diego are down 7.8% from a year ago, and sales are, in a word, horrid. So I’m not surprised that a builder with a significant set of properties in San Diego would have to turn to an auction.

Interestingly, I can’t find the words D.R. Horton anywhere on the auction Web site that details the properties, with prices and pictures and all. We’re going to send a camera this weekend to see who’s buying. I’ll get back to you all when I know more.

Questions? Comments? RealtyCheck@cnbc.com

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  • Diana Olick serves as CNBC's real estate correspondent as well as the editor of the Realty Check section on CNBC.com.

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