The Detroit News reports that the county foreclosed on approximately 50,000 properties during the past three years. The majority of properties in next month's auction – 20,400 homes – are based in Detroit.
County officials note that the auction could have been larger. The county's Taxpayer Assistance Department has been able to broker payment plans or extensions with 20,000 homeowners who would have otherwise faced foreclosure.
‘It's absolutely crushing the numbers out there, but it's a result of the economic downturn,’ says Chief Deputy Wayne County Treasurer David Szymanski, who predicts the county's tax foreclosure problem will not abate until at least 2014. ‘We've sort of run out of things to foreclose on, which is sad.’
However, holding an auction is no guarantee that the properties will sell. The county hosted a similar auction last fall, and more than 6,500 Detroit properties went unsold, even with asking prices beginning at $500.