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Business is brisk at local tax foreclosure auction in Michigan

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

There may be some good economic news in a place that's usually just about bad news: county tax foreclosure auctions.

Hundreds of people jammed into a large room at Baker College in Jackson waiting to bid on one or more of the nearly 400 properties on the tax foreclosure auction block.

County Treasurer Karen Coffman says this is the largest number of properties Jackson County has ever put under the auctioneer’s gavel, which she says a sign of how bad the economy has been here.

But Coffman sees something else too. She says it must be a good sign that a much larger than normal crowd is here to bid on the foreclosed homes.

“The sign that we have as many people here today. And they do have money that they are willing to spend, and reinvest in the community, is definitely a positive uptick….and I will take that to be a good indicators that things are turning around,” said Coffman.

Coffman says she’s heard that other county tax auctions are seeing the same trends.

This week, one bidder bought all the properties being auctioned in Macomb County. Buying more than 600 properties for a bid of $4.7 million.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.