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Few Homes Have Sold in Post-Sandy Long Beach

Realtors say pre-storm contracts pending due to re-appraisal process.

Apartment buildings along the East End in Long Beach, where the dunes were wiped out in Hurricane Sandy. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
Apartment buildings along the East End in Long Beach, where the dunes were wiped out in Hurricane Sandy. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)

While two single-family homes have sold in Long Beach since Hurricane Sandy struck in late October, according to Multiple Listing Service, some realtors said that either a handful of other homes have sold since then or are about to close, as well as that they’re not alarmed by the numbers.

As of Friday, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) listed an expanded cape on East Hudson Street that sold for $225,000 on Dec. 17, and a hi-ranch on Wilson Street for $465,000 on Dec. 31. Joe Sinnona, a director of MLS and an associate broker with Verdeschi Realty in the West End, said the Hudson Street home was originally listed at $249,000 and the Wilson Street home at $489,000.

“This signifies that the market hasn’t completely dropped,” Sinnona said about the post-Sandy market in Long Beach, where many potential homebuyers are searching for fire sales.

Miriam Gold, owner of Paul Gold Realty who has sold homes on the barrier island for nearly 50 years, doesn’t find the low number of home sales unusual. She takes into account not only that the city was devastated by an unprecedented storm, but also that home sales typically dips during the winter months.

“From Thanksgiving to Christmas it’s always very, very quiet; almost dead,” Gold said. “That was normal.”

As residents reevaluate and work to return to normalcy, the market is starting to show some signs of light, at least at her West End office, Gold said. She has about four single-family homes on the barrier island that are about to close.  

“I have people who were in contract and they will be closing,” she said.

Sinnona said that, as of last week, 131 homes are for sale in Long Beach, which is about 31 more than before Sandy. Many of the homes that are available were in contract before the storm, but the banks must reexamine them, he added.  

“They have to actually go through another appraisal process because of the damages,” said Sinnona, who noted that he hasn’t had any homes in contract since the storm.

Karen Adamo, a broker with Petrey Realty at East Park Avenue, said the terms of contracts entered before the storm can be renegotiated, based in part on the damages to flooded homes.  

“The buyer will try to renegotiate and obviously if there is a lot of damage they don’t have to go through with it,” she said. “And the seller then has to determine if they are going to sell it for less.”

As Patch reported earlier this week, some brokers in Long Beach estimate that no more than 50 percent of city residents are living back in their homes since the storm. Sinnona believes that as more businesses reopen and more of the city’s infrastructure returns, most importantly the boardwalk, a resurgence of people will return to the island.

“Right now they are in a sort of paranoid state of mind because they have post traumatic stress,” he said.

Sinnona believes that realtors should send out positive messages and signs of hope to the community. Whenever a storm-damaged business reopens, he posts a mention of it on Facebook. “Because people want to hear that their neighborhood stores are back,” he said.

Adamo believes the majority of people who will return to the city are longtime residents who “love Long Beach and want to be here,” she said. But there are those who don’t necessarily regard Sandy as an unusual storm and are concerned that about future storm after they had refurbished their flooded homes following Hurricane Irene in August 2011.

“I know several people who renovated after Irene and now after Sandy they fear they’re going to have to do it again,” she said. “I think those are the people who are really concerned.”

More resident will return when they receive the money they need to rebuild, from both insurance companies and FEMA, funds of which have so far come mostly “in dribs and drabs,” said Adamo, who also supports the Sandy Relief bills as a means to rebuild.

Yet once the funds arrive, there is also the process of their allocation, such as when homeowners must turn over their insurance checks to mortgage companies to be endorsed.

“They’re holding on to some of it and they’re demanding receipts for the work that you’ve already done before they give you more money,” Adamo said.
Eddie January 11, 2013 at 05:04 PM
The Democrats' scheme to increase taxes by 50% will have a bigger effect on cooling the market than will the storm.
Beachguy January 11, 2013 at 08:46 PM
Time will tell as will this winters and next falls storm seasons.
Beachguy January 11, 2013 at 08:56 PM
EVen before Sandy LB had a deplorable reputation what with the $10 million deficit, outrageous police salaries, etc. Sandy might just be the final blow. BTw ,----what happened to the missing$20,000 beach receipts?
Tideline January 12, 2013 at 08:11 AM
I spoke to a LB Realtor this week who told me that there are bidding wars for homes in the West end and that many are selling. I now beleive that to be B.S., based on the above article. I think the Realtors are putting out a lot of spin. How long before L.B. declares Municipal Bankruptcy ?
Eddie January 12, 2013 at 10:44 AM
..............I tend to agree with Wildman. So many factors affect home prices, any of which are yet to unfold and be seen. On a national level we have government controlled mortgages, their interest rates, qualifying rules and income requirements. You have economic concerns: Inflation, unemployment, the job market. There are the perception concerns which are both local and national, fueled by the media and again government: Is home ownership "trendy" and in vogue. ......................... Then there are the local considerations and these are what make Long Beach win or lose buyers to other adjacent communities. These are public perception, local taxes, federal tax schemes like mandatory flood "insurance" and bogus flood maps, local business attractions, school quality, parks, absence of slum-creating and value robbing Section 8 and other welfare programs, transportation and the physical condition of the houses offered for sale. ......................... When you take all these local elements into account, you see there are more issues than simply storm damage. Some can be managed well and enhanced by a good local administration. With former City Council President Torres calling Long Beach a "superfund site" in Newsday, I don't put much faith in our present leadership. . ...........................But Wildman hits the nail on the head. Long Beach will always be special. Many people always want to live by and visit the beach. Long Beach will be their place. The housing stock has been improved greatly over the past two decades, with development and improvement spurred by what was low taxes. . ........................... Managed properly, Long Beach has a great future. Property here, I believe will continue to be one of the Nation's best financial investments. The present lull in activity, driven more by the season and economy than by the 300-year Sandy Storm is truly an opportunity for the astute. ............................. You are watching financial and investment opportunity.
Eddie January 12, 2013 at 12:45 PM
You don't get the $30K unless you lost half your market value in flood damage or suffered two substantial losses in ten years. Then your "mitigation money" has to be approved by the City, which won't happen unless you are friend, family or Democratic contributor.
Tideline January 12, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Lets keep an eye on houses that are boarded up. It would be easy for drug addicts to break loose a board and go inside to get out of the rain, snow and wind to shot drugs in there. Drug dens and abandoned homes that are boarded up do not help property values.
David Prophet January 12, 2013 at 10:29 PM
I have a friend who is a real estate broker and she helped me buy here in LB. Her opinion is that we'll have a better idea of the real estate related consequences of the storm a year from now, and it's really not worth speculating until then. We need to get from now to spring without another damaging storm such as a Nor'easter, and, as has been said, the fiscal condition of LB is crucial to our bouncing back from this mess in the long term. LB's financial situation is unfortunately well publicized and while many will be willing to risk a major hurricane in return for enjoying life here, the idea of massive annual tax hikes to compensate for fiscal mismanagement, corruption and waste will scare away far more people.
Beachguy January 12, 2013 at 11:30 PM
The Prophet is right. Sandy was a catastrophe but one from which we will recover. The long term issue is inept, sometimes corrupt, inefficient government . The city was $10,000,000 in debt before Sandy. Services were slipshod. Scandals were the norm. LB was the laughingstock in my office. Nice place to spend the day or evening but live there? LOL! Ha,ha,ha ha.
Tideline January 13, 2013 at 08:49 AM
I would not be surprised if the LB Bond rating were downgraded 2-3 levels in 2013.
Matt Markell January 13, 2013 at 01:59 PM
Wildman, By saying 200gs, are you referring to 200,000? If so, try using 200K.
Me January 14, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Really are we worried about "Crack Den's" popping up around town? I may be naive but I think that is a little farfetched. I agree the out of control finances will likely be what makes or breaks the future of LB. As far as the future of home prices unless you have a crystal ball all we can do is wait and see what happens. There seemed to be a lot of people looking at houses on my block over the weekend not all appeared to be flippers. For some people who grew up in LB and couldn’t afford to stay here, they are seeing this as an opportunity to get something cheap now and make it their own. Also the majority of houses in LB will now thanks to Sandy will be newly renovated making them more attractive to buyers and yes even renters so they can demand and get a rent higher than what Sect. 8 pays. The landlords will need to do that to make back the cost of renovating. As far as lifting a house goes $30K doesn't even begin to approach the cost. There was a flyer floating around town for a company that says they will do it for the $30K, BUT: to put that price in perspective there is really only one company on LI that does it and its about $20K just to pick up the house and put it down on a new foundation which along with all the disconnecting and connecting as well as new stairs, Etc isn't included in the price. I plan on staying regardless. I think it can only go up as a place to live even there is a temporary downturn over the next few years; people will forget Sandy and come back to the Beach. There aren't too many other places like LB around here.
Eddie January 14, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Nice reading your post, Me. Lots of good common sense. I still can't understand why Long Beach voters continue electing unqualified, inexperienced opportunists as leaders. Is it because only 1 out of ten voters own property and see a tax bill? Certainly every dollar in new taxes and expenses reduces the value of a home a certain amount. This mismanagement is our biggest threat.
Tideline January 14, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Me, I never said anything about Crack Dens. This is not the 80's anymore. That being said, who do you think looted the the Pharmacys and other business and homes ? The Priests....
anonymous January 14, 2013 at 10:31 PM
Eddie...the reason that people keep electing idiots is because only idiots run for office. People who would otherwise be qualified for and excel at running the city are turned off by the stupidity that surrounds the job. For example...a police department that pays officers $150K and then cry like schoolgirls when they have to work midnights, city council members who sue the city that they serve for a slip and fall, people who are completely unqualified for their jobs, etc. What good, talented qualified leader would want to inherit a mess that they can't fix? Couple that with voters who are brainwashed by the stupidity that they see on TV and their lack of comprehension of the issues and this is what we've ended up with. You can look at every level of gov't in our country right now and the problems are exactly the same. Nothing will change until we completely clean house.
anonymous January 14, 2013 at 10:32 PM
P.S. I hope someone is keeping Fran away from the boardwalk while they are tearing it down. We want to make sue that she doesn't get hurt and that her hubby can still get his nookie....
Beachguy January 14, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Time for a third party peopled by independent, non affiliated individuals. Like bloomberg. He has money and doesn't need to kow tow. Or like Ed Koch.
anonymous January 14, 2013 at 10:57 PM
I agree except the problem with Bloomberg is that he's turned into the eccentric (he's rich so he's eccentric...if he was poor he'd be just plain crazy) old uncle who wants you to do everything his way and he insists that he knows better than you do. What we need are hard term limits at EVERY level of government, reduction in these pseudo governmental bodies who spend money yet have zero authority and we need to make all politicians part time employees. Yup...except for the president and maybe SCOTUS everyone needs to have a real job in the real world and only spend a week or month actually doing political things. That would cut down on the campaigning, the grandstanding, the narcissism and most of all it would cut down on the useless and pointless legislation which would dramatically reduce gov't spending.
anonymous January 14, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Oh and when say real job...being "of counsel" at an ambulance chasing personal injury law firm doesn't count as a real job.
Beachguy January 15, 2013 at 03:31 AM
AN all wise, benevolent dictator will do quite well. Otherwise I have come around to supporting term limits. The electorate keeps reinstalling the same cyphers.
Me January 15, 2013 at 03:34 PM
TIDELINE QUOTE: “Me, I never said anything about Crack Dens. This is not the 80's anymore. That being said, who do you think looted the Pharmacies and other business and homes? The Priests.... “ UNQUOTE…….. Excuse me if the following description in my opinion would be a “Crack Den”……….. TIDELINE QUOTE: “Lets keep an eye on houses that are boarded up. It would be easy for drug addicts to break loose a board and go inside to get out of the rain, snow and wind to shot drugs in there. Drug dens and abandoned homes that are boarded up do not help property values” UNQUOTE………I am aware that pharmacies got hit and homes were burglarized but that was people who can best be described as ANIMALS taking advantage of the situation. Disasters bring out the best in some and the worst in others. They were likely scumbags to begin with and will likely continue to be scumbags. They saw an opportunity with nobody around, the police otherwise occupied, no lights or alarms to worry about and they jumped on it simple. They will always be in our midst but it all stopped within a day or two as things calmed down. In a civilized society, the civilized live by the rules. There will always be those that do not and it is up to the rest of us to try and make them “toe the line” and keep them at bay. Finally as far as property values go wild speculation in the press or a public forum about “drug dens” popping up isn’t going to help property values either!
Tideline January 15, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Perhaps if you start having issues with homes next door to you or across the street you will have a better understanding of what i am saying may happen. School kids, unemployed and drug addicts can still make entry into a vacnat home without using it to sell drugs out of. I doubt if you would like that, but it is common.
Eddie January 15, 2013 at 04:07 PM
Me, I'm proud of you. You are probably the only other reader who would properly spell "toe the line". Literacy does live.
Beachguy January 15, 2013 at 07:29 PM
I thought it was "tow the line".Like a tug boat. Literacy is an oxymoron on the Patch. As far as drug dens etc., in the absence of evidence that this is happening I think everyone should stop speculating. Newsday would love to write a sensational story about LB now being one large drug den , empty houses populated with drug fiends. Don't we have enough real issues?
Me January 15, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Eddie, Beachguy, Thank you. As you mention we have enough real problems let’s not imagine ones that don’t exist. None of us know the future so let’s all work together to try and make the best future we can!
Tideline January 15, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Let's not have discussion, on a discussion forum. Lets not talk about not having a Boardwalk next summer, you don't know that. Or, about what will happen when the next Nor Easter comes, you don't know that we will have one. Let's not talk about whether the Dems will get re elected or not, you don't know that, and one and one. Stay in your sheltered world, as long as your head remains in the sand, everything will appear to be fine. No sense worrying about Developers buying property cheap in the West End. LOL.
Beachguy January 16, 2013 at 09:06 AM
Tideline-- if you have real evidence of druggies populating vacant houses then it's a legitimate topic for discussion . If not , then it's only grist for the mill that can do no one any good.
Beachguy January 16, 2013 at 09:07 AM
BTW-the topics you bring up are legitimate concerns not speculative ones.

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