In a Wayne County auction last week, an unidentified buyer placed a $3.2 million bid for the dilapidated homes, roughly the minimum allowable bid of $500 per property. According to David Szymanski, chief deputy treasurer of Wayne County, the bidder is not likely to turn a profit from the properties. In a Bloomberg interview, Szymanski said, “I can’t imagine that you are going to make money on this.”
A lot of work will have to go into the properties. The bundle includes 3,000 properties that need to be torn down, plus some 2,000 empty lots and about 1,000 homes that are believed to hold some value.
Wayne County has become one of the biggest owners of foreclosed homes since the bust. This year alone, the county has started foreclosure proceedings on 56,000 properties with about 20,000 of them headed for auction. In 2015, county officials expect to foreclose on an additional 75,000 parcels.
Three million dollars will barely buy you a place in Manhattan, but in Detroit it will get you more than 6,000 foreclosed homes.