From the Star Ledger:
The sing-songy voice of the auctioneer echoed across the Terrace Ballroom at Newark Symphony Hall as hopeful property owners clutched their catalogs and filed in and out of the room.
Newark put nearly 80 abandoned and foreclosed properties on the auction block today, trying to derive some value from a foreclosure crisis that has ravaged the city’s already fragile tax base.
Michael Meyer, the city’s housing director said by mid-morning things were going at a good clip and properties were going for more than he had hoped, but the business of auctioning is not as straightforward as it may appear.
“We want to make sure we put property out there without flooding the market,” he said.
Roughly 100 people were at Symphony Hall, many were professional investors while others were hopeful home buyers.
Ed Watson, a contractor from Monmouth County picked up what would charitably be called a “fixer-upper.”
“It’s basically a shell. I don’t even know if has plumbing,” Watson said after picking up one of a dozen properties that the city was selling with the stipulation the owner live there for five years.
Watson, who does “total renovations,” said he was looking forward to tackling the project.
“You beautify the neighborhood and at the same time have a cheap place to live,” he said. As for Newark’s real estate market he was cautiously optimistic.
“I don’t think it’s all of a sudden going to be Hoboken, but there’s a market,” he said.