Hundreds of vacant homes in Philadelphia are going to be auctioned off next week – and they could go for rock bottom prices.
The Philadelphia Housing Authority and Max Spann Real Estate and Auction Company will team up next Tuesday 10 a.m. at 3801 Market Street in University City for the big one-day event. About 200 homes and empty lots are up for sale.
Some experienced bidders like Larry McKnight purchased his Fishtown property during last year’s auction. He repaired it and then put it up for sale.
“We put about $90,000 to $95, 000 into it and sold it for $285, 000,” said McKnight.
Houses can go for anywhere between $2,000 and $200,000. The auctioneer and housing officials believe they may raise around $2 million for the struggling housing Philadelphia Housing Authority.
"The idea of an auction makes sense for the housing authority for a number of reasons," said PHA President and CEO Kelvin Jeremiah. "First, these properties have been vacant for many years and unfortunately due to budgets cuts PHA does not have the resources to rehab or maintain these properties. Therefore, by selling the properties we will generate badly needed revenue to use on other capital projects while allowing the private market to put these houses back into service."
Bidders must be prepared to write a check for 10 percent of their winning bid. Many of the houses are located in rough neighborhoods where residents hope someone will invest. McKnight believes the empty lots can be a good deal.
“Now that's great for residents because they could fence it off and turn it into a side yard. You know living in the city you really don't have that much outdoor space so for residents that's really where the home run is at,” said McKnight.
During the Philadelphia Housing Authority’s first auction in the fall of 2011, auctioneers say they sold 341 properties, netting the housing authority $6.4 million.
For the list of homes up for sale click here.