Scary spiral: Brace for foreclosures in Covid's wake, Detroit-area officials warn

May 17, 2020, 8:52 AM

Thousands of Michigan home and business owners could lose their poroperties in post-Covid economic turbulence, a Crain's Detroit Business forecast says.

In Wayne County alone, property tax foreclosures are expected to roughly double as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The county, which has been a lightning rod for controversy over property-tax foreclosure auctions, could see up to 7,500 or so foreclosures next year as people already on payment plans for back taxes struggle in an unprecedented economic upheaval, said Treasurer Eric Sabree. ...

Other counties, which also conduct the auctions, are expecting increases as well.

Here's why: Amid wide unemployment and restricted business activity, "late property tax bills may be of less pressing concern than, say, putting food on the table or keeping the lights on or the water running," Kirk Pinho writes in this week's issue.

There's no immediate risk. A statewide foreclosure moratorium is in effect until 30 days after the governor's state of emergency ends. Moreover, Metro Detroit's three county treasurers promise not to pile foreclosure atop anyone's stress in 2020.

"It would be in 2023 that the effects of this year's situation would be felt from a tax foreclosure" surge, says Andy Meisner, Oakland County treasurer. That's because unpaid property taxes first send residential or commercial real estate into forfeiture (a time when it can be redeemed), and then into foreclosure if taxes aren't paid for three years, Pinho explains.

Read more:  Crain's Detroit Business

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Potd_img_5271_561 Peaceful protest in front of the Manoogian Mansion in downtown Detroit last night

By: Michael Lucido