Jacksonville, FL, USA (Sept. 5, 2022) —The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that the presence of vacant and abandoned properties has a profound negative impact on afflicted communities. Blighted properties decrease surrounding property values, pose health risks, create safety hazards, and reduce local tax revenues. But there is a proven solution that transforms dilapidated buildings into some of the nicest homes in the neighborhood – for a sustainably positive multiplier effect. Although this approach also pumps significant tax revenues back into municipalities – where it can be deployed to provide essential public services – it doesn’t have to cost taxpayers a dime.
“We have successfully done it more than 1,200 times in cities like Atlanta, Toledo, Detroit, and Jacksonville,” explains Stephen Seal, Co-Chair of the Tax Deed Investor Group (TDIG) – a committee within the National Tax Lien Association (NTLA). The NTLA is the only national nonprofit trade association dedicated to America’s tax sale industry. Tax sales are public auctions of tax liens and deeds and are routinely conducted by municipalities as a way to offset financial losses due to delinquent taxes. According to Tax Sale Resources, an organization that tracks tax sales data, such sales generate more than $4.3 billion in revenue. Those who win the auctions invest because of the potential for substantial financial returns. But investors typically generate those returns by transforming neighborhood blight into beautiful homes that are assets to the community.
Each time a property is rehabilitated and put back into use as desirable housing, the local community benefits by having newly created affordable housing. “In Detroit, for example,” Seal adds, “we got neglected and abandoned properties turned back into single and multifamily homes, in the midst of a huge housing shortage. The properties were unlivable and out of service. But we made them habitable and added them to the stock of affordable homes.”
The revamped properties also generate valuable revenue in the form of property taxes ─ where there was previously a shortfall due to unpaid taxes. That benefits communities whose governments rely on property taxes to deliver services to the public – ranging from patching potholes and installing street lights to funding schools, police, fire, and EMS. In that way, tax investors are literally taking dilapidated eyesores and turning them into some of the nicest houses on the block – while creating jobs and boosting local economies. In exchange, says Seal, they earn annualized returns of approximately 10 to 17 percent – an attractive incentive and reward for doing the right thing to uplift communities across the nation.