"When Detroit auctioned 503 homes in 1996, city officials hoped to promote home ownership, chip away at the chronic abandoned-property problem and bolster struggling neighborhoods . . . An investigation by The Detroit News into the results of the 1996 auction found that 313 of the 503 homes sold in the December 1996 bidding are abandoned, torn down or inhabited by squatters." In addition, the goal of increasing homeowners in the city failed with only 14 percent of purchasers occupying their homes. The auction "not only failed to give the city's real estate market the jolt initially desired, but also exposed a series of missteps by city officials in the land transactions." David Josar and Cameron McWhirter report more.
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