City of Nanaimo outbid on one property in annual tax sale

NANAIMO – The city scooped up all but one property from the auction block after being outbid at this year’s tax sale.

The City of Nanaimo scooped up all but one property from the auction block after being outbid at this year’s tax sale.

The municipality purchased five of six properties for more than $376,000 at an annual tax sale Monday.

A private bidder beat the city on one property at 13 Gillespie St., purchasing it for more than $44,000 over the upset price, minutes of the tax sale show.

Properties with three years of unpaid property taxes go to auction every year as a requirement of the Local Government Act with an upset price – a minimum bid – tallied from, among other things, outstanding taxes and penalties, according to the city website. The City of Nanaimo gets properties by default if there’s no bidders, but it actively attempts to win the full inventory to give landowners more opportunities to reclaim properties.

Diane Hiscock, the city’s manager of revenue services, said there was a lot more bidding activity at this year’s auction.

“In the last couple of years that I’ve personally been the auctioneer there’s been some bidding, but almost every property was bid at,” said Hiscock, who adds all but one had active bidding because of a high upset price.

Hiscock said interest in the sale could be because the selling price is below assessed value, so it might be an opportunity to get a property for less than what it might be worth, but there’s also interest paid on the purchase amount so some see it as an investment.

The city won five properties and paid more than the minimum bid for all but one, according to the minutes. The city got 236 Haliburton St. for its upset price of $136,292. The price for 520 Dundas St. was driven up from the minimum $6,118 to $79,600, and 58 Athletic St., which had an upset price of $8,978, sold for $101,100. The city also bought 41 Pirates Lane and 830 Beaufort Drive.

Private bidder Sheryl Fitzsimmons picked up 13 Gillespie St. for $50,000.

No matter who buys at the auction, landowners have one year of the tax sale to redeem their property. If the city is the winning bidder, landowners also have the added option of getting an extension if they pay 50 per cent of the redemption price. Hiscock said it’s very rare properties are not redeemed. Of 13 properties auctioned last year, all were reclaimed.