LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — This empty lot, located at 1224 Dakin St. in Lansing, can be yours for just $73,401.45. That’s the minimum bid on the lot in Thursday’s Ingham County Treasurer’s Tax Foreclosure Auction.
“The house was foreclosed effective April 1 and the city demoed it a few weeks later,” Ingham County Treasurer Alan Fox says of the property. “The lot is the highest reserve price in this year’s auction.”
The reserve price includes back taxes and unpaid fines and fees from the city. In this case of 1224 Dakin, the cost includes the demolition charges.
Fox says it’s unlikely the lot will sell Wednesday, and even less likely it will sell at a high enough amount to recoup the demolition costs, fines and fees from the city and property taxes. That will ultimately impact the wallet of Lansing taxpayers.
“The vacant Dakin Street property and other vacant lots with unpaid demolition charges will have those charges paid out of city funds because the costs of the demolitions cannot be recovered by selling a vacant lot at auction,” Fox says.
The city cuts the county a check for about $150,000 every year to cover building and code compliance fees charged to foreclosed properties.
The Dakin property is one of 60 properties up on the auction block. The auction will be held at the Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., at 10 a.m. Properties are located throughout Ingham County including Lansing, Webberville, LeRoy Township and Leslie.
Fox says 110 N Main Street in Leslie has an historic designation by the Leslie Historical Society. It is currently four separate living units. He and his team will host a pre-auction open house at the property on Tuesday, August 22, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.
The county has sold 318 properties at the annual tax auctions since 2018. That included 34 sold at the height of the COVID pandemic.
Most of the properties with a structure on them have sold in the first auction at or above the reserve, Fox says.
“Since about 2019 nearly every structure capable of rehab (and some that were not) has sold at auction,” Fox says “The Lansing area has a diverse set of small businesses that thrive rehabbing and flipping older houses; the age of the Lansing housing stock provides many opportunities. These firms acquire most property from people who sell directly, but that supply has shrunk and the demand for property at the tax auction has increased as a result.”
He says the property in tax foreclosure have often sat empty for years and have significant structural damage. That damage can range from vandalism to fire damage. And it is rare, the tax man says, that property sold from tax foreclosure doesn’t need a new roof.
But with Lansing’s hot real estate market, those obstacles aren’t stopping the spending spree.
“Yet for about four or five years prices for these properties have been steadily bid higher,” Fox says. “In 2021 and 2022 nearly every structure sold at the first auction.”
Those properties that don’t sell Thursday will be back on the block in a follow up auction Oct. 18. The reserve bids will be “much lower,” Fox says.
Fox says the real story is not the properties up for auction. It’s the ones that were saved.
“Over 400 owner-occupied homes in the county received assistance from the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Fund (MIHAF), about half with active assistance from the Treasurer’s office and local support agencies, especially Capital Area Housing Partnership,” Fox says. “Many likely would have been foreclosed without the funds. Nearly $2 million in delinquent taxes in Ingham County has been paid through MIHAF in the past year.”