The Market

Newark's Valentine's Day land sale might become a yearly tradition

By Virginia K. Smith  | February 17, 2015 - 12:09PM

If you spent your Valentine's Day trying to buy cheap land in Newark instead of splashing out for an overpriced restaurant prix fixe, you weren't alone. Hundreds of couples lined up this weekend to snap up one of the 100 city-owned lots, each offered for $1,000, reports. Some pairs even camped out overnight to get a prime spot in line, which paid off: a local bank paid the $500 down payment for the first ten couples.

Though the deal included some daunting requirements—buyers must commit to building a home on their plot within 18 months of purchase, and to living there for the next five years—plenty of lovebirds were on board. "We are so excited about building a house from the ground up," one Manhattan lawyer told the site. And while the lots were marketed to couples as a Valentine's Day special, they were technically open to any pair of buyers willing to co-sign a contract of sale, as we reported last week.

The jury's still out on how all these buyers will navigate the wide world of New Jersey contractors—building a house is a pricey, difficult undertaking, after all— but overall, the sale seems to have been a success. Newark officials are already considering doing a similar sale next Valentine's Day, CBS reports. Camping out in February weather may not be anyone's idea of fun, but the payoff here is a big one, and you'll be done in time to participate in that other treasured holiday discount tradition: trawling Duane Reade for 50-percent-off heart-shaped chocolates on the 15th.


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