Success!  The most-recent online tax forfeited land auction held by St. Louis County closed on October 7, netting a great return the otherwise dormant parcels.  In fact, county officials are claiming that they believe it was the largest gain from tax forfeited land ever for the government body - at least from a dollar stand point.

In total, 38 properties closed as a result of the online auction.  The net revenue generated by those parcels was $1.49 million back to the county.

The high grand total was in part brought on by some competitive bidding.  Twenty-four of the 38 properties that eventually sold had competing bids which resulted in sales well above the original listing price.  Several of the winning bidders ended up walking away with multiple properties.

Some other demographics from this particular land auction:  The majority of the people who ended up purchasing property call Minnesota home already; only three of the winning bids came from individuals from outside the state of Minnesota.  Four of the winning bidders in this auction had purchased parcels during previous tax forfeited land auctions in St. Louis County.

The sale included a wide variety of land-types.  Some of the tax forfeited land that sold at auction were buildable lots, some were recreational land lots, there were even some waterfront land parcels included.  In fact - five lakeshore properties and an additional three properties located on rivers or streams also sold.

estate agent giving house keys to woman and sign agreement in office
Natee Meepian

One of the successes of the tax forfeited land auctions is removing blighted property and getting it back onto the tax rolls.  This auction was no different.  Ten formerly blighted properties that the county had demolished and cleared for new development ended up selling to the highest bidders.

So what does St. Louis County do with the profits from the tax forfeited land auction?  Revenue derived in this manner is used in a variety of ways.  Some goes towards the operating costs for the Land and Minerals Department - which receives no levy funding. The county also uses the money for timber development and to support recreation and economic development activities across the board.

All remaining funds after those line-items is distributed through a process called 'apportionment'.  Through apportionment, the money is shared in the following way:  40% goes to the county's general fund, 40% goes to school districts in the county, and 20% goes to towns located in St. Louis County.  In 2020, St. Louis County apportioned just over $2 million.

St. Louis County road sign
Nick Cooper - TSM Duluth

This most-recent tax forfeited land auction represents the third and final one for 2021. Sale dates for 2022 have been set:  February 10, June 9, and October 6.  Sales the past two years have been held online.  It's unclear at this point which avenue (online, in-person, or a hybrid) the auctions for 2022 will take.

Following the online auction, approximately 60 parcels remain unsold.  These parcels are available to be purchased on a first come-first served process.  Click here to see descriptions and to get more information.

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There are more than 900,000 acres of tax forfeited land managed by St. Louis County through its Land and Minerals Department.  According to details released by the county, most of the land is "maintained for resource management, however, the county is working to sell parcels that are not planned for management as a way to encourage development and increase the property tax base".

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