Saturday, June 10, 2006

Tax Sale Season

From The Trenton Times:

Tax sale a deal for some in N.J.

Anyone looking for a housing or business bargain may soon have the opportunity to buy one for less than the price of a new car, or, in some cases, the cost of a movie and large popcorn.

As the end of the state's fiscal year draws to a close, several New Jersey municipalities are beginning preparations for an accelerated tax sale to wipe delinquent tax bills off their books.

The liens range in price from only a few dollars to tens of thousands and run the gamut of properties from one-bedroom bungalows to sprawling office buildings.

The tax sales are a win for the municipalities and a win for the investors savvy enough to purchase a lien. For a fraction of a property's true value, a speculator can purchase a lien, which obligates a property owner to pay back the delinquent amount, with interest, or risk foreclosure. The interest rates can be as high as 18 percent.
But there are downfalls to the system.

If the list of delinquent taxpayers is made up largely of residents instead of businesses, the tax sales can hurt the very people the township is trying to help.

"It's a balancing act," said Belluscio. "You may be collecting the money but at the same time you may be hurting taxpayers, particularly elderly taxpayers who may be having some trouble paying."


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