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Tax certificate sales decline

By Staff | Jun 12, 2009

With tax certificate sales completed for the year on May 31, Lee County saw the number of certificates sold drop from 44,996 in 2008 to 43,508 in 2009.
While the decrease is not staggering, it might indicate a housing market that could slowly be in the verge of rebound.
The number of certificates struck to the county were 23,672, while 19,836 certificates were sold to individual bidders or investors.
Those numbers are virtually flipped from 2008, when the number of properties struck to the county were 12,156, and 32,840 to individuals or investors.
What that indicates is anyone’s guess, but tax certificates netted over $88 million, $16 million of which was struck directly to Lee County.
Marsha Sullivan from the county tax collector’s office said that the Cape had 5,380 parcels struck to the county, but the hardest hit area was Lehigh Acres.
“The highest numbers were in unincorporated Lee County, because of the volume of parcels are in these areas,” Sullivan added.
Certificate sales often provide investors with as much as 15 to 36 percent return each year.
Individuals, too, can find great deals through tax certificate sales, often walking away with an entire property with only paying the taxes owed.
Sullivan was unable to determine how many of the individual certificate sales were to investors or banks.
“They could be financial institutions, or they could be other corporations, not necessarily banks,” she said. “Each individual bidder has a strategy and reason for purchasing the parcels they do … anyone can register.”