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Proposal: 50% off home auction prices for Detroit workers, retirees and their families

kensington_house.jpg
via buildingdetroit.org

Detroit city workers, retirees and their immediate relatives could soon qualify for a 50% discount off the purchase price on some city homes.

The deal would apply to vacant homes auctioned off by the Detroit Land Bank Authority. That online auction has been one of Mayor Mike Duggan’s signature initiatives.

Duggan says the program would serve multiple purposes: attracting more residents to Detroit, boosting home ownership, and maybe helping to move some mid-range properties in the land bank’s inventory.

The online auction has been most successful at moving the high- and low-end properties, but “We need that interim group,” Duggan said. “We need people that will buy a house for $25,000 or $30,000, and get a mortgage.”

But Duggan admits it has proven tough for many auction winners to get mortgages. He blames that on federal mortgage rules that discriminate against Detroit buyers, but says “many smart people” are working on the problem.

The program still needs Detroit City Council approval. If that happens, Duggan pledges it will be “up and live” on the auction website by mid-February.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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