Camden tax sale attracts dozens of investors

One man’s trash is another’s treasure, they say. And lien investors from all over the state and New York were banking on that this week.

At its annual tax sale Monday and Tuesday, Camden attempted to sell 4,000 lien certificates on properties whose owners had not paid their taxes for the fiscal year ending June 30.

Many first-time Camden lien-buyers were made giddy by the number of tax-delinquent properties they could choose from in the hopes of making a profit off interests or eventually foreclosing on a site and redeveloping it.

“There’s 400 at most other tax sales. … Camden has 4,000,” said Nima Baratian, as he left City Hall at midday on Monday to find a Chase Bank. In the first few hours of bidding, Baratian had purchased 20 liens.

Two were for former car-shop garages, Baratian said. He and his family own a few car dealerships in the New York City area.

If the Camden property owners don’t pay back the lien (plus interests), “I’ll foreclose on them and maybe open a car dealership here,” Baratian said.

Several people on Monday got into intense bidding wars. A particularly coveted spot was across from Camden Police headquarters on Federal Street. The lien on the property was just under $26,000 and the winning bidder ended up paying that amount plus $23,100, which is unheard of in Camden tax sales, said city finance director Glynn Jones.

The purchase of a tax lien doesn’t mean the buyer gets the property. It gives him or her the right to foreclose in 21 months if the tax lien remains unpaid. 

Revenue totals from the sale were not available late Tuesday.