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Vacant home in North Wilmington bought by New Castle County goes back on the market

New Castle County

New Castle County is getting into the real estate game.

A home from the county’s Vacant Spaces to Livable Places initiative was put on the market Friday.

The program targets homes with delinquent property taxes as a means to reduce blight in the county. 

For the first time since it launched in 2017, a property the county bought back through the initiative did not sell at Sheriff’s Sale. That prompted the county to invest in rehabbing the home and put a for sale sign on the front lawn. 

“Rehabbing homes in the poorest neighborhoods and turning blight, and really liability to the community into opportunity,” said County Executive Matt Meyer.         

The County spent about $17,000 in mostly state and federal funds through the Delaware State Housing Authority (DSHA) and the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to rehab the property at 48 South Cannon Drive in North Wimington’s Edgemoor Gardens neighborhood. The house is listed at just under $100,000. 

Meyer says the county flipping the home itself after an unsuccessful Sheriff Sale addresses one of the biggest challenges of the program: finding buyers for homes in the “hardest hit” neighborhoods.

“You can’t find an investor who wants to come into a dilapidated property, pay $17,000 in code fees, pay to rehab it, when they’re not sure there’s much of a market on the other side,” he said.

Meyer says the Vacant Spaces to Livable Places initiative has generated just under $2 million in tax revenue and reduced vacant property in the county by more than 400 homes—roughly 38% of total countywide housing blight when the program started. 

He says tens of other properties are in queue to go through this same process and the county has the state and federal resources to do it.

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