Four people snapped up nine of the 10 properties up for sale at the City’s annual property tax sale Monday.
While 25 people showed up to sit in on the auction, the bidding came down to four people who paid between $10,000 and $120,000 for a range of properties whose owners owe three years in back taxes.
The annual event sees investors bid on properties starting at the upset price, which is the amount the owner owes the City plus applicable fees.
The property still belongs to the original owner for another year; if at least one year’s worth of back taxes haven’t been paid by then — plus the interest owing to the ‘buyer’ — then the bidder becomes the owner.
But most people ‘buy’ the properties for the interest income. For the first quarter, the interest rate is at six per cent.
Bill Carson, who bought two properties Monday, was one of those who is in it for the interest. He’s been going to tax sales for at least a decade.
“I’m just investing,” he said.
“I’m just a retiree trying to make a living.”
He looked up the properties on Google before choosing which ones he would bid on.
The outstanding tax list started with 74 properties. By the time the tax sale doors opened Monday morning, it was down to 10.
The one property no one bid on was an industrial lot at 3175 Kokanee Way. Back taxes there amount to $62,875.99.
Even Carson didn’t want to bid on that one. He said his search showed a vacant lot. Because no one else bid on it, the City automatically takes that one at the upset price.
He had better luck than those in Sun Peaks. The tax sale there was cancelled because all outstanding taxes were paid up.