Max Spann to Auction 200 Philadelphia Housing Authority Properties

July 16 auction offers opportunities for individuals, investors and builders

2013 AuctionPHA President & CEO Kelvin Jeremiah, City Council President Darrell Clarke, and auctioneer Max Spann answered questions about PHA's upcoming auction of 200 scattered site properties in the 2100 block of North Marston Street where four of the homes are located. Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. has scheduled the auction for 10 a.m. on July 16 at First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street in the University City section of Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA - June 18, 2013 - The Philadelphia Housing Authority is again teaming up with the nation's premier real estate auction company to offer approximately 200 properties for sale at a big one-day event. The announcement came this morning on the 2100 block of N. Marston St., where four of the houses are located.

Max Spann Real Estate & Auction Co. has scheduled the auction for 10 a.m. on July 16 at First District Plaza, 3801 Market Street in the University City section of Philadelphia. 

"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."

At PHA's first auction in the fall of 2011, Max Spann sold 341 PHA properties, netting approximately $6.4 million for the housing authority. PHA is among more than 60 government entities nationwide for which Max Spann has conducted auctions. 

"We had tremendous excitement and fun in the room last time with hundreds of bidders. We had families who were focused on a specific property and we had investors who saw great opportunity to upgrade houses and lots and market them to buyers searching for homes. This is one of those situations in which everybody wins, including the workers hired to rehab the properties. We are extremely pleased that PHA was so happy with the earlier results that they called on us again to conduct this auction," said company president Max Spann Jr.  

The properties are scattered throughout the city but the majority are located in North Philadelphia within close proximity to Center City.

 "I am grateful the Housing Authority is actively working to dispense with longtime vacant properties. Too many of these properties create significant challenges in neighborhoods throughout the City as well as strains on our budget," said City Council President Darrell Clarke. "We should all hope these properties are purchased and put to good use - whether it's providing quality, affordable housing for working families or creating jobs and economic opportunities."

Lawrence McKnight of BMK Properties bought a row house in Fishtown at the last PHA auction. His company completely rehabbed the house and sold it to a family who now enjoys a beautiful home in an up and coming community.

"The beauty of the PHA auction is that buyers get to transform derelict homes into usable properties," McKnight said. "It helps PHA because they no longer have to maintain a property they can't use, but more importantly it also helps the community. The minute we start rehabbing a property, neighbors start doing the same thing. It brings out a sense of civic pride."

Another buyer at the 2011 auction was Garry Murray, who has been buying, rehabbing and selling homes since 2003 with his company Home Solutions Group.  He bought two properties at the last auction -one in North Philadelphia, which he improved and sold to a family, and the second in Olney that he plans to convert into student housing near La Salle University.

"The process is pretty easy," Murray said. "There were plenty of properties to choose from.  I was able to make some money. I really like the idea that this time the properties will be auctioned one at a time (rather than in groups as some were at the last auction) so I can zero in on the ones I really want."

Max Spann will hold three auction informational sessions so that prospective bidders can review the lists of properties, get instructions on how the bidding process works, find out terms of the sale and ask any other questions. The sessions will be held from 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. at:

June 26 - Greater Grays Ferry Estates, 1800 S. 32nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145
July 2 - Greater Grays Ferry Estates, 1800 S. 32nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145
July 9 -Greater Grays Ferry Estates, 1800 S. 32nd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19145

"This can be a very productive way to spend a day. The variety of properties offered means there are homes for just about anyone, even those who didn't think they could afford to buy a home. It is important to keep in mind, however, that most of the properties will need work. We recommend those interested attend an informational session, learn how the auction works and drive by addresses that interest them before they bid," said Max Spann Executive Vice President Bob Dann. "The more informed our bidders are the better their chances of achieving the results they want. It also makes for a more exciting and fast-moving auction." 

PHA, Pennsylvania's largest landlord serving approximately 80,000 residents, has seen its federal funding decrease over the past year. The agency recently announced a program to help community development organizations create housing for the same vulnerable population served by PHA. Funds raised through the auction will help fuel that initiative.

"These are very difficult times for housing authorities, especially with the dramatic funding cuts caused by the federal sequester. We have to be more efficient than ever in how we operate and where we target our resources. It is reassuring to know that as we raise money from the sale of these properties we are also contributing to the improvement of the blocks where the houses are located," said the PHA's Jeremiah.

Those interested can view an entire list of the properties and a property information package, attend the auction and bid. More information can also be found on Max Spann's Facebook page  and Twitter feed or by calling 888-299-1438.

"If you buy a property at the auction you are making an investment in yourself and in the city's future," said Dann.