Detroit auctions 9,000 properties for as little as $500, but 80% have no bid
On the auction block in Detroit: almost 9,000 homes and lots in various states of abandonment and decay from the tidy owner-occupied to the burned-out shell claimed by squatters.
Taken together, the properties seized by tax collectors for arrears and put up for sale last week represented an area the size of New York’s Central Park. Total vacant land in Detroit now occupies an area almost the size of Boston, according to a Detroit Free Press estimate.
The tax foreclosure auction by Wayne County authorities also stood as one of the most ambitious one-stop attempts to sell off urban property since the real-estate market collapse.
Despite a minimum bid of $500, less than a fifth of the Detroit land was sold after four days.
[...]Wallace [an individual investor] waited for the auction to roll around to Detroit's Boston-Edison district, a once stately area that was home to boxing legend Joe Louis and Motown founder Berry Gordy.
But he was quickly outbid. An unidentified investor at the front of the room who had scooped up several dozen properties took the home Wallace wanted for about $15,000.
"Why am I competing against a bank?" he said later. "It would be common sense to have a separate process for people who want to move back to the city or it's going to stay empty."