Updated 1:30pm: Nothing says commitment this Valentine's Day like buying your sweetheart a plot of New Jersey land and embarking on building a house together. But that's exactly the pitch from the city of Newark, which today announced a "Valentine's Day Land Sale" of 100 city-owned empty lots for $1,000 apiece. "This sale is NOT for developers or investors," the city notes on its website. "The sale is exclusively for couples who are looking to live in Newark."
Naturally, this kind of fire sale comes with quite a few restrictions: you must be coupled up (the city inclusively, if rather awkwardly, notes that "straight or LGBT" pairs are eligible); you can only buy one lot per couple; you have to put down at least $500 to sign the deal, plus another $500 at closing; and perhaps most pertinently, you must commit to building a home within 18 months and living on the property for the next five years.
The cost to build a standard single-family home in the U.S. runs about $295,000, according to Fixr.com, a site that connects users with local businesses, and features a tool to calculate construction costs based on the type of building you want and the city in which you're building. Meanwhile, the median sale price of a Newark home in December was $206,600, according to Zillow, which predicts a 2.2 percent bump in property values over the next year.
Below, a map of the available sites:
While it seems a little unfair to market this opportunity up to couples exclusively—plenty of single people are eager first-time buyers, too—the sale is, technically, open to any pair of potential buyers. A spokesperson told us that the only proof of couple-dom needed will be to have two parties' names on the contract of sale, and that since the state can't legally require that buyers are romantically involved, the opportunity is also open to pairs of friends, family members, etc. Full details are available here, and if you're interested, be prepared to show up early: the sale is happening from 9am to 12pm on Saturday, with properties available on a first-come, first-serve basis.