Two sprawling Fripp Island homes auctioned off with no minimum bid and no reserve could have sold for nickels -- theoretically.
Instead, separate bidders at Tuesday's auction will pay a total of nearly $2.2 million for the two adjacent properties that, between them, have 12 bedrooms and 11 full bathrooms, an elevator, four dishwashers, a saltwater swimming pool and a water slide.
William Bone, president of the National Auction Group of Gadsden, Ala., which is selling the homes, said the crowd and sales prices demonstrate that the Lowcountry's real estate market remains relatively strong compared to other areas he has worked nationally.
"It's been a good response," Bone said. "You all are in better shape than most."
About 75 people gathered around the pool and waterslide Tuesday for the auction.
Fourteen were registered bidders, who had to put down a $50,000 deposit for authorization to bid on the two expansive houses.
The larger home is 4,906 square feet and was assessed at $1.38 million in 2009, according to county property-tax records.
The other is 3,648 square feet and was assessed at $1.41 million.
Bidding began at $750,000 and $600,000, respectively.
The auction company placed officials in blue sportcoats and American flag ties throughout the crowd to watch for bids and urge participants on.
At times, the prices seemed stuck before another, slightly better offer was shouted. Between the two homes, about a dozen back-and-forth bids were submitted.
Auctioneer Lee Morris didn't have a gavel, but he did cry out that famous auction phrase:
The larger home sold for $1.15 million; the smaller for $815,000.
Tack on a 10 percent buyer's fee, and the total payout rings up to $2,161,500.
Jonathan Bone, a market executive with National Auction Group, said one buyer was from South Carolina, while the other was from North Carolina. Both declined requests for comment.
The 14 registered bidders included one listening on the phone and others from North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.
Follow reporter Kyle Peterson at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufortCo.
- Family to sell Fripp homes on auction block, Aug. 22, 2011
- July housing numbers show year-end sales up in Beaufort County, Aug. 17, 2011