Washtenaw County treasurer: 66 properties sold during recent tax foreclosure auction
Washtenaw County Treasurer Catherine McClary said strong activity during the county’s first 2012 tax foreclosure auction is indicative of an improving economy.
Of the 153 parcels that were up for auction last month, McClary said 66 were sold.
“I think this auction was a huge success,” she said. “I think it’s a reflection that the economy is improving.”
The auctions, which ended July 24, included vacant lots, commercial buildings and residential homes. McClary said 26 properties sold at the minimum bid price — which includes taxes, fees, interest, penalties and the cost to bring it to auction — and 40 sold for more than the minimum bid.
Among the properties that sold, McClary mentioned a “nice house with gorgeous landscaping” at 7524 Lake St. in Dexter. The minimum bid was around $37,000 and she said it sold for $132,000.
An Ann Arbor house at 901 Pine Tree Drive sold for $67,000 above the minimum bid price of $21,000.
The properties that were not sold last month will return to auction Sept. 6, and a third round will begin Oct. 18. The parcels not sold in October will be returned to the city or township where the parcel is located.
“Anecdotally, I can say that we never sell half the properties in the first auction,” McClary said. “We would sell a handful of the best ones, but everybody pretty much waits for the second auction. It really looks like we had some good activity here.”
McClary also noted that 90 percent of the winning bidders in last month’s auctions were from Michigan, with 81 percent of those in Washtenaw County — something she views as beneficial to the county.
“When the economy tanked and things got really difficult and people were not investing in real estate, the bidders you often attracted — and we were still grateful for them — were typically from out of state,” she said.
“We think, although we don’t know, if it’s local people buying the properties, they probably have local needs: a family moving there, a local person building a house on a property, a local Realtor buying up properties to try and resell them,” she continued.
The total number of properties up for bid this year is down significantly from the record number auctioned in 2011. That year, 639 parcels went to auction.
McClary said if the county receives the minimum bid on a property, it breaks even. If a bid is higher, it’s considered an excess proceed and goes to benefit the county programs.
She said the county has received more than a million dollars in extra proceeds each year since 1999, with the exception of 2010 and 2011.
Even though bid activity is stronger this year, McClary anticipates the county will lose money again in the 2012 auction cycle, although less than the past two years. She won’t know the official outcome until after the October auction.
At the Sept. 6 auction, four parcels holding the former Greek church at 401 N. Main St. in downtown Ann Arbor will be up for bid.
After receiving no bids during the first auction, two mobile home parks in Ypsilanti Township will return to the Sept. 6 auction.