I grew up in the Ironbound section of Newark and have family in North Newark (near the Belleville border). The bottom line is that the current rents a home is getting now have to make sense when buying. I've talked to a lot of people who bought in the height of the market a few years back. Average rents outside Ironbound is around 1200 to 1400 average.
I also work for a company who just opened a small college branch in Downtown Newark (near the Library and Museum). I witnessed the development of Bears Stadium, NJPAC, the FBI building and Blue Cross building (near Penn Station), and more recently the Prudential Arena (home of the Devils hockey team) and the installatoin of the Lite Rail system from Washington Street Station to Penn Station being finished.
In the 80s and 90s Newark used to label The Renaissance as the era of downtown improvements but that fell to the wayside. Now you will notice a dramatic facelift to the downtown landscape of Newark which is making a difference both financially and visually for Newark. I believe the changes are here to stay and improvements are more to come. Newark has a new administration as well with new Mayor Cory Booker. Sharp James has been out for a couple of years now and things are looking better.
Hope the home purchase you're looking for is in Newark if it all makes sense for you.
A Home For Sale Realty