Wayne County Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz has good news for those looking to buy an inexpensive house or lot in the county.
His office will be holding an online tax auction for foreclosed properties later this week. Although the county usually holds its property auctions in the fall, it will start accepting sealed bids on Friday at 8 a.m. and conclude the sale on July 10.
The minimum bid for lots with structures will be $500. For vacant lots it will be $200. For those who want to streamline the process, the Detroit-based tech startup Loveland Technologies is offering a free online service that provides information about the auction's properties at whydontweownthis.com, which features an easy-to-use interactive map and Google Street View images of properties.
Wojtowicz's office launched an initiative in February that sent county representatives to nearly 6,000 foreclosed Detroit homes that didn't sell at last year's auction in an effort to make a deal with occupants to buy the properties.
In a February interview with The Huffington Post, Alex Villacorta of Clear Capital, a firm that specializes in real estate analysis, said the county was attempting to unload properties to help drive real estate values up and stabilize the housing market.
"At end of the day, the county is trying to reduce supply," Villacorta said. "What we're seeing in markets starting to recover, is that it happens when supply is kept under control and [foreclosed homes] do not dominate the market."
According to Clear Capital's latest report issued on June 5, properties owned by a lender such as a bank or government agency that haven't been sold after a foreclosure auction now make up more than half of the Detroit-Warren-Livonia metropolitan housing market, though at 53.8 percent, they're down 5.4 percent from last year.
For more information about Wayne County's tax auction for foreclosed homes see the county's website.