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Second round of Wayne Co. property auction starts this week

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

Round two of what’s become known as the “world’s largest municipal property auction” starts this week.

That would be Wayne County’s annual tax foreclosure auction.

More than 26,000 properties remain after the auction’s first round last month, when just over 2,000 properties sold.

In the second round starting Tuesday, bids start at just $500. The properties will be offered online in “batches” until the bidding wraps up October 22.

This year’s auction is Wayne County’s largest yet, with the county initially moving to foreclose on 75,000 tax-delinquent properties.

The vast majority are in the city of Detroit, and an estimated 8,000 are occupied residential properties.

Far fewer properties actually ended up going to auction, in part because the county was aggressive about getting some property owners onto payment plans with reduced interest rates.

Still, critics say the massive auction will further devastate Detroit neighborhoods already riddled with blight, and punish low-income families who struggle with the city’s high property taxes.

But the Wayne County treasurer says the auction is mandated by state law.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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