MILWAUKEE -- Foreclosed properties that sit empty in the city of Milwaukee are driving down property values and attracting crime. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says fixing up these homes and selling them to responsible owners are among his top priorities.
City leaders set a goal of selling 450 foreclosed homes in 2015. As of last week, 500 homes had been sold -- so the goal was met. That said, the city acquired 800 newly foreclosed homes in 2015 as well, so there’s work to be done.
FOX6 News on Sunday, December 13th went inside a tax foreclosed home near 39th and Center. It is among 1,200 owned by the city -- and city officials are looking to sell these properties.
The home near 39th and Center is selling for $18,000 -- but a potential owner would be required to make $23,000 in repairs to bring it up to minimum code compliance.
"In the last couple of years, the city has really stepped up its efforts to bring these properties to the attention of prospective buyers," Martha Brown with the Department of City Development said.
The properties are listed on the city's website and sell for an average of $11,000.
For prospective buyers, there's a forgivable loan program in exchange for work done.
"By continuously working with community groups, realtors and individuals, we are gonna get ahead of this thing," Mayor Barrett said.
Mayor Barrett says the number of foreclosed homes the city is acquiring still outpaces the number being sold -- but compared to years past, the numbers are improving.
"The number of homes that we've taken back has actually gone down. I'd say our peak year, we took in 900 homes, -- so that number is going down," Mayor Barrett said.
Mayor Barrett wants the homes filled with families who in turn, improve the neighborhoods and put homes back on the tax roll.
"We have put a lot of money into this. We've have put about $10 million into our Neighborhood Reclamation Program. We've done that two years in a row, because we want to make sure that we're getting these houses back into circulation," Mayor Barrett said.
About 60% of the homes sold this year went to homeowners, while 40% went to investors.
Everyone will have to fix up their properties.
CLICK HERE to learn more about purchasing foreclosed properties in the city of Milwaukee.