The number of real estate auctions in 2010 has risen 14 percent so far, according to the National Auctioneers Association.

Robert Friedman, chairman of Real Estate Disposition Corp., said his company is on track to auction off 520 homes this year, twice as many as it did last year. The driver is bank repossessions. We are almost entirely REO at this point, he said.

Developers and lenders selling off whole developments that are incomplete at fire-sale prices is another contributor.

But individuals who have watched their properties languish for months on the market are increasingly their customers as well, auctioneers say. There are no contingencies in the auction world - the high bidder gets the property and must live with his regrets. Sales are quick and clean. People appreciate the purity, says George Graham, CEO of Concierge Auctions.