St. Louis County's online property auction nets record $1.5 million in sales

The revenue from the final online auction of 2021 is believed to have been the best result of any of its auctions ever, the county said.

This 19.5-acre parcel includes 1,500 feet of frontage on Wolf Lake in Morse Township. The property has water access only. Starting bid was $157,500. Contributed / St. Louis County

St. Louis County's third and final online tax-forfeited property auction of 2021 was the county's most successful online sale ever in terms of revenue, a news release said Monday.

The auction closed last week with 38 properties sold back into private ownership for a total of $1.49 million, the release said.

It was also believed to be the largest dollar figure for any auction of tax-forfeited land ever offered by the county.

Of the properties sold in this most recent auction, 24 had competing bids resulting in sales above the original listing price.

The auction featured a variety of properties including recreational land, buildable lots and waterfront property. Properties purchased include a duplex in Duluth and a pole building on 40 acres in Zim.


Five lakeshore properties and an additional three properties located on rivers or streams also sold. Likewise, 10 formerly blighted properties the county had demolished and cleared for new development all sold.

This two-story duplex in Duluth's Central Hillside offers excellent views of Lake Superior. Starting bid was $80,300. Contributed / St. Louis County

Most people purchasing these properties were from Minnesota. There were also people from three other states who successfully bought land in St. Louis County through the auction. Several buyers bought multiple properties, and four buyers have purchased land in previous auctions.

Revenue from the sale of tax-forfeited properties is used in a variety of ways, including to cover operating costs of the Land and Minerals Department, which receives no levy funding, a county news release said.

Additionally, the County Board may designate a percentage of funds to be used for timber development and/or to support recreation and economic development activities. Any remaining funds are distributed through a process called apportionment, based on the following formula: 40% goes to the county's general fund, 40% to school districts and 20% to towns.

Last year, St. Louis County apportioned slightly more than $2 million from revenues generated through timber management, land sale and other land use fees.

Properties that were not purchased at the auction are now available for sale on a first-come, first-served basis through the St. Louis County Land and Minerals Department until sold or put back on the online auction. There are approximately 60 properties currently available for purchase. The list of those properties, along with results from this latest auction, can be found at .


St. Louis County offers new tax-forfeited auctions for sale by auction three times each year. Sale dates for 2022 will be Feb. 10, June 9 and Oct. 6. Additional auctions are offered throughout the year for properties that remain unsold from previous sales.

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