Are land banks competing with the private market, with an unfair advantage?

Not so. In fact, a land bank is a direct response to a growing inventory of problem properties that the private market has altogether rejected. Most vacant and abandoned properties have serious legal and financial barriers that detract responsible, private investors. For instance, many abandoned properties have a clouded title, which introduces a level of uncertainty and liability few responsible investors, if any, are willing to assume. Also, many tax-foreclosed properties have accumulated years of back taxes that far exceed the market value of the property. Similarly, many properties left vacant and abandoned for too many years require an investment in repairs that greatly exceeds what the market could ever return. A land bank, therefore, is designed specifically to address the inventory of problem properties the private market has discarded, and to convert these neighborhood liabilities into assets that advance community-based goals.