June 26, 2014 at 11:11 pm

Online house auction raises $1M so far for Detroit

This house on the 4100 blockCadieux in Detroit was among the first city-owned home offered auction. (David Coates / The Detroit News)

Detroit— The city’s plan to auction abandoned homes in neighborhoods has raised more than $1 million in revenue, city officials said Thursday.

The Detroit Land Bank auction has gotten post-auction commitments from high bidders in the amount of $1,015,560 as of last Friday.

“The success of these auctions is another reminder of just how much demand there is for good homes in Detroit’s neighborhoods,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a Thursday statement. “Within a matter of months, these vacant houses will become homes that will be adding to the strength of our neighborhoods.”

Since May 5, the city has been selling homes on the buildingdetroit.org website. The first auction generated 88 bids with a high of $34,100. For the past month, the land bank has been selling two homes per day.

So far, nearly 70 auctioned properties have sold for as little as $1,000 and as much as $97,000.

Winning bidders must sign paperwork stating homes will be fixed up and occupied within six months of closing in most neighborhoods and nine months in historic designated areas.

Council President Brenda Jones said the sales show people from all income levels are eager to live in Detroit.

“People are excited about the land bank auction, and its success has created even more enthusiasm,” Jones said in a statement. “It’s a great way to bring new families into our city and re-energize our neighborhoods.”

Duggan set an initial goal of auctioning 400 homes by the end of this year, and the city remains on pace to reach it. If the auction continues with two homes per day, seven days a week, more than 700 vacant homes would be sold next year.

Erica Ward Gerson, chairwoman of the land bank, said the number of homes auctioned could increase to three per day. It would put the city on pace to sell 1,000 homes a year, she added.

“That means just through this one auction we have the potential to add 1,000 or more residents to the city each year, which ties in perfectly with the mayor’s goal of increasing the city’s population for the first time in more than 50 years,” Gerson said.

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