Online Tax Forfeited Land Auction results in nearly $1.5 million in sales

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Land & Minerals Department • 320 West Second Street, Suite 302 • Duluth, MN 55802
7820 Highway 135, Virginia, MN 55792
Phone: (218) 726-2606 •

Julie Marinucci




October 11, 2021


Julie Marinucci, Director of Land and Minerals



Online Tax Forfeited Land Auction results in nearly $1.5 million in sales

St. Louis County's third and final for the year online auction of newly offered tax forfeited properties has closed with 38 properties sold back into private ownership for a total of $1.49 million. In terms of revenue brought in, it is the county's most successful online sale ever, and is believed to be the largest ever of any auction of tax forfeited land offered by the county. The auction, conducted through, closed October 7. 


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. 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.


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, waterfront property and more. 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 that the county had demolished and cleared for new development all sold.


While the majority of people purchasing these properties are from Minnesota, there were also people from three other states who successfully bought land in St. Louis County through this online auction. Several buyers bought multiple properties, and four buyers have purchased land in previous auctions.


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 online at


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


Within St. Louis County there are nearly 900,000 acres of tax forfeited land, which the County's Land and Minerals Department is responsible for managing. Most of the land is maintained for resource management, however, the County is working to sell parcels that are not planned for management as a way to encourage development and increase the property tax base.


For more information about tax forfeited land sales, or to subscribe to receive email notifications about updates and future sales, visit or call the Land and Minerals Department at (218) 726-2606.