Outlier investigation reveals tax auction invites speculation-doesn’t require buyers to pay back taxes

Outlier users ask us again and again with help figuring out exactly who owns their home.

The Wayne County tax auction is a huge public property sale that has fundamentally changed Detroit’s neighborhoods. The sale has swept up close to 150,000 properties in the last 15 years – since 2012 being the busiest years. Some buying in the tax auction are looking for a good deal on a house. Many are investors looking to get as many homes as they can on the cheap.

Trying to trace homes through the auction process to find the owners also revealed how common it has been for investors to lose properties to tax foreclosure yet keep buying properties through the auction the next year. It’s against state law and that doesn’t seem to be stopping anybody.

This piece, published today in Bridge Magazine, lays out the investigation inspired and fueled by Outlier users. When data becomes available for this year’s auction we’ll be following up to see if the pattern continues.

IMG_1097Owe taxes? That’s OK. Wayne County will still sell you foreclosed homes.

Author: sarahalvarez

Journalist and founder of Outlier Media.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s