For people who are trying to buy and sell real estate along the New York/New Jersey coast, Hurricane Sandy has changed the picture considerably. Sellers have had to either take losses to sell fast, invest money in repairing their damaged homes and hope to find buyers, or take their homes off the market until it stabilizes, if they can afford to wait.
- James and Susan Chenitz in Rumson, N.J. had their house for sale for $1.85 million. Post Sandy it’s now listed at $700,000, with hopes that someone will take a chance on it.
- James Vento’s duplex in New Dorp Beach at Staten Island, listed at $580,000 in February 2012, soon had an offer of $510,000 which he refused, now sold in December 2012 for $279,000.
- Steve Kaplan and Bob Gregor, investors buying up houses in Long Beach, N.Y., bought one home, damaged but salvageable, for $125,000 below market value, and are searching for their next purchase.
- Gerald R. Fink, with Jerry Fink Real Estate, closed a Howard Beach, Queens deal by dropping the price $40,000 for estimated repair costs to damaged heating and cooling systems.
- Steven Pacchiano, with Connexion I Real Estate Services, raised an older ranch home price $50,000 for the replacement of the flooded bottom floor with updated fixtures and a new kitchen.
- Eva Zurek, with a Red Hook, Brooklyn real estate company, had a couple retract their offer on a $1.23 million Wolcott Street brick town house after the lower floor was flooded. The couple is no longer interested in buying any homes in the Red Hook area.
- Joseph Zisa, city attorney for Hackensack, N.J., closed on a Manahawkin bay home at pre-Sandy price because the water view is so special, even though the porches were gone and a telephone pole fell in the yard barely missing the house.
- Alex Rubin, with Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Long Beach, is advising his clients not to offer or accept low ball prices that will hurt long-term property values, but to subtract needed repair costs plus an “inconvenience fee” of $25,000.
- Seventy-one properties in flood zones of Brooklyn and Queens have been taken off the market per SteetEasy, a listings database.
Waterfront homes before Sandy brought in high prices and probably will again. As in Lower Manhattan after the September 11 terrorist attacks, very low prices may rebound even higher than ever, so sellers should remain patient. An October 2010 analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas showed that after thirteen hurricanes caused significant damage in 99 coastal areas from 1988 through 2005, house prices first fell, but then increased between three and four percent in three years over what they would have been.
A lot depends on the new National Flood Insurance Program maps and banks being able to make loans in the area. And some time must pass without more serious storm damage so this does not become a yearly climate change occurrence, scaring buyers away.
For cash buyers who don’t worry about the dangers of living near the sea or mind getting repairs done, there are some super deals at the moment. If they invest in the area, they may want to install emergency generators just in case.