- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - An online auction of vacant houses in Detroit will be expanded from one east side neighborhood to two others, city officials announced Monday.

Open houses are scheduled Saturday and Sunday in Boston-Edison on the west side and Osborn area in northeast Detroit.

The auction began earlier this month for houses in East English Village. More than 1,000 people toured 12 listed homes in that area two weeks ago. The city has been auctioning off one house per day and five were bought in the program’s first week. Each of the houses had been abandoned at least three years, the city said Monday.

Winning bids ranged from $30,000 to $42,100.

“This confirms what we have said all along,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “The demand for living in Detroit is not just in downtown or Midtown, it extends into our neighborhoods. The success of this auction and the prices these homes are selling for prove that.”

The auctions are part of Detroit’s strategy to fight blight in its neighborhoods. The city has no accurate count of what is believed to be tens of thousands of vacant and abandoned houses.

A blight-removal task force was preparing a report on the number of structures and vacant parcels in Detroit for city officials. That report could help determine which houses and buildings can be saved and which will be torn down.

“Since we are requiring the purchasers to fix up the home within six months and get them occupied, there soon will be 400 more families living in Detroit’s neighborhoods,” said Brenda Jones, Detroit City Council president. “And we are just getting started.”

Thirteen listings of houses set for auction in Boston-Edison have been added to the www.BuildingDetroit.org website. Ten houses in the Osborn area also have been added. The city’s Land Bank will start auctioning two homes per day beginning May 27.

Nearly 6,000 people have already registered on the auction website to bid on homes.

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