The National Auctioneers Association, a trade group for auction professionals, this week reported that gross receipts for real estate auctions grew about 1.1 percent in 2008, with an estimated $17.1 worth of residential real estate sold at auction.

The National Auctioneers Association, a trade group for auction professionals, this week reported that gross receipts for real estate auctions grew about 1.1 percent in 2008, with an estimated $17.1 worth of residential real estate sold at auction.

Bank-owned properties that have completed a foreclosure process (commonly referred to as REOs) were "a major contributor to the industry’s growth in 2008," NAA reported.

Gross receipts for commercial and industrial real estate auctions fell about 0.5 percent in 2008, to $15.5 billion, NAA also reported. Land and agricultural real estate auctions grew an estimated 0.5 percent to $26 billion in 2008.

In total, all types of real estate sales at auction accounted for an estimated $58.6 billion in gross receipts in 2008, or 21.8 percent of all goods and services sold at auction last year. Overall, gross receipts for all types of auctions dipped about 1 percent in 2008 compared to 2007.

Segments of the auction industry that grew last year include: agricultural machinery and equipment; commercial and industrial machinery and equipment; and charity auctions.

NAA reported "significant decreases in gross revenue" for art, antiques and collectibles (down 9.3 percent), automobiles (down 5.4 percent), and personal property (down 5.1 percent).

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