An anonymous bidder offered slightly more than $3.1 million in an auction last week to buy more than 6,000 foreclosed homes in Detroit, according to Wayne County, Michigan, Chief Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski.
The $3.1 million bid meets the minimum required bid amount of $500 per property. Szymanski said the auction ends on Tuesday, October 28, although the bidding will be extended if anyone bids in the final five minutes. If the bidder who put up $3.1 million should win the auction, that person is unlikely to turn a profit – in fact, that person would likely have to put up even more money due to the amount of upkeep (or demolition) required on the dilapidated homes.
Wayne County, where Detroit is the county seat, is experiencing an unprecedented foreclosure problem. Earlier this month, officials in the county office announced it was in the midst of an aggressive foreclosure campaign that included about 75,000 residential properties in Wayne County, most of which are located in Detroit.
In particular, Szymanski mentioned blight had become a major problem for many of these distressed homes, and he said it is a primary goal of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan to eliminate blight. Reports say that a task forced recently called for the demolition of about 10 percent of the distressed properties.
Wayne County has the authority to initiate foreclosure proceedings on a residential property when the owner becomes delinquent on property taxes. The number of residential properties Wayne County has initiated foreclosure proceedings on has skyrocketed in the last few years. The number jumped from 26,000 in 2011 up to 42,000 in 2012, then climbed to 56,000 for 2013. Szymanski said the county completed the foreclosure process on only about 20,000 of the 56,000 homes last year, meaning the county was able to provide assistance or resources that allowed more than half of those homeowners to stay in their homes.