More than 175 “tax-adjudicated” properties, mostly vacant lots, in neighborhoods across New Orleans will hit the virtual auction block Wednesday in the city’s second public sale this summer of properties taken over by the government for unpaid taxes.
For a 12-hour period beginning at 8 a.m., prospective buyers will be able to bid for full legal ownership of the properties.
The lots up for sale previously went unsold in a tax sale and have been in the city’s control for at least five years.
The online auction is part of a strategy by Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s administration to spur development and return hundreds of properties to commerce.
At the end of a typical tax sale, a successful bidder does not actually own a property and must initiate foreclosure proceedings against the property owner, who can fight such action. In this week’s auction, the former owners have forfeited all rights to the property, and winning bidders will get a free and clear title.
The city has made a total of about 1,800 properties, 90 percent of them vacant lots, available for auction.
The first auction, on July 1, resulted in 79 sales and raised $2.53 million, New Orleans officials said. The highest bid was $330,000 for a commercial building at 2438 St. Claude Ave.
Nearly 320 individual bidders placed more than 8,000 bids on the sites. The 79 winning bids were placed by 65 bidders, 85 percent of them from Louisiana, the city said.
All but five of the properties purchased in that auction have since gone to closing, City Councilwoman Stacy Head’s office said. The rest are scheduled to close by Aug. 14.
“The success of this first auction should give potential bidders even more confidence in the process, and therefore, we anticipate even more participation and bidding in future auctions,” Head said.
“While the initial revenue generation for the city and other taxing bodies is wonderful, the real benefit will be seen in years to come as these properties become homes for New Orleanians and continue to stabilize neighborhoods.”
The properties scheduled for the first auction had debts totaling $2.51 million, including back taxes, penalties and interest. The city said revenue from that sale would be used to pay back taxes owed to the city, the Board of Liquidation, the Orleans Parish School Board and the Sewerage & Water Board. Any remaining money goes to the city.
The auction will take place live at civicsource.com, the website of the contractor the city hired to run the auction. The auction is open to people around the world and does not require that one have already put a deposit on a property.
The auctions will continue on the first Wednesday of each month until all properties have been sold, Head’s office said.