Newark holds first $1 home buying lottery

The city of Newark held its first lottery for New Jersey residents wishing to purchase a $1 home owned by the city Monday.

Candidates hoping to scoop up property in the Garden State’s largest city packed City Hall Monday hoping to benefit from Newark’s Homeownership Revitalization Program, which is offered to residents who’ve lived there at least five straight years or were recently displaced. Winners must commit to spending the next decade in the home they purchase.

Mayor Ras Baraka’s office said the number of homes available right now are “limited,” but availability is expected to increase. The properties were seized by the city for reasons including back taxes and other public debts.

Buyers are responsible for repairs and maintenance of their new homes, but low-interest mortgages are available to meet those costs. Most of the real estate being offered will require some work. As the program continues, lots will be sold for the construction of one-, two-, three- and four-family homes.

Newark’s Homeownership Revitalization Program requires participants to undergo homebuyer counseling, which educates homeowners on developing, maintaining and financing property.

Real estate site lists the average home in Newark at nearly $429,000, which is up 6.6% from a year ago. The mayor’s office said only 25% of Newark residents are homeowners.