A MN city is offering free land – but nobody is taking it, which is costing taxpayers


A small southeastern Minnesota city is giving away free land, worth tens of thousands of dollars. It has been for a few years, actually.

But nobody's biting.

The city of Claremont is giving away 14 residential lots to people willing to build on them through its Residential Lot Development Program. But because no one has taken them up on the offer, it's actually costing the city – and the taxpayers – $40,000 a year, FOX 47 reports.

The Dodge County city, which has a population around 600 people, took ownership of the land in 2012 after a developer went bankrupt, so it decided to offer free residential lots as a way to get new people to move to the city, FOX 47 says.

"We're trying to get people into town to build homes, get the tax base up and increase water and sewer revenue," Claremont City Clerk and Treasurer Elizabeth Sorg told West Concord News. "We want to help the community grow. People will come and businesses will come."

Sorg told FOX 47 she thinks people assume the offer is too good to be true, or they simply haven't heard of it.

But the deal is a real thing.

The city is waiving the purchasing price of the land ($28,637) for qualified buyers (a family of two must make under $74,000 a year), and only an administrative fee of $1,000 is charged if a home that meets the city's minimum requirements is built within one year, the News Enterprise reported.

This embed is invalid

Other Minnesota cities have offered incentives to draw new residents. Earlier this year, the city of Harmony began offering cash rebates up to $12,000 to build a new home. Last year, the city of Stewartville offered a similar rebate incentive.

Watertown in Carver County approved a residential permit incentive program in June to combat "sluggish new home starts." The city offered to waive certain utility fees – a value of $9,500.

Based on previous attempts, it's not necessarily a surprise Claremont's free land offer isn't as successful as the city hoped. Incentive programs have gotten mixed results over the years, with experts saying instead of attracting new residents, many programs are often utilized by people who already live in the town, the Star Tribune reported.

Next Up

covid, vaccine

Is Minnesota's latest surge plateauing? Expert says 'no idea'

Hospital admissions have leveled off in the past week, though ICU cases have risen.

U of M police

U of M alert: Man followed victim from bus, tried to break into apartment

The suspect followed a man off a bus and tried to get into his apartment.

24436 Old Hwy 13 Blvd, New Prague, Minnesota

New Prague bar that disregarded shutdown order settles lawsuit

The bar was cited for several violations late last year.

Cole Leon Venables - edit

Charges: Impaired pizza delivery driver fatally hit woman in Hopkins

The woman who was killed was walking down the sidewalk when she was hit and killed.


Curfew orders could be issued if unrest follows Chauvin trial verdict

Minnesota and the nation anxiously away the jury verdict.

Walter Mondale

State and national leaders pay tribute to Walter Mondale

Officials spoke of his work on environmental and civil rights issues, as well as their own personal stories with the former Vice President.

Anthony Trifiletti

Watertown man found guilty of murder in road rage shooting

Anthony Trifiletti has been convicted in the killing of Douglas Cornelius Lewis following an argument over a fender bender.

police tape

Police: Man fatally shot in north Minneapolis home

Multiple people were questioned but no one is in custody.

Blue Door

The Blue Door is closing its original St. Paul location for good

Two of its Minneapolis locations are still open, with the third temporarily closed.

Fire, firefighters

Fire heavily damages century-old church in northeast Minneapolis

The fire started Monday night and caused much of the church's roof to collapse.

Mike Ryan

Charges: High school hockey coach killed in fight over distancing at St. Paul bar

The 48-year-old had coached in Bloomington hockey programs for more than 20 years.