Long Beach has not been as hard hit with housing foreclosures as the rest of Nassau County—which saw a reported 34 percent increase in May as compared with the same period last year, according to local realtors.
“I personally have not had any foreclosures in Long Beach,” said Joyce Coletti, a top realtor of Prudential Douglas Elliman Realty. “However, I do see the [housing] market taking another hit in front of my eyes.”
Coletti then issued this message to all sellers: “Your home is worth what a buyer is willing to pay.”
She said she “is taking a hit” trying to sell her own property in Long Beach.
Joe Sinnona of Verdeschi Realty in the West End agreed that the city’s foreclosure rate has not quite reached the county level of 34 percent from what he’s seen.
“We’re doing okay in Long Beach,” said Sinnona. “I am a little concerned about short sales growing, which could lead to foreclosures.”
A short sale involves the homeowner and the bank agreeing on a price to sell the home, which is less than what is owed.
Sinnona said he is handling two short sales on homes – one in the Canals and the other in the East End – that he has been trying to sell for the past three years.
“I lost potential buyers because of their lack of patience,” he said.
“I think people are buying into the community slowly,” he added. “They are carefully taking their time. They don’t want to make any mistakes, and I’m trying to guide them through it.”
He said he has been trying to curtail potential foreclosures by offering them the best possible advice.
“I tell them that they should go down a different road rather than give up and that may mean restructuring finances or refinancing the current loan or modifying it,” he said.
Coletti said she has lost potential buyers who are frightened away by Long Beach’s school property taxes. She said she pays $13,000 a year in taxes on her two-family home.
“I just lost a $1 million sale from a perspective buyer who said, ‘I can’t buy in Long Beach because the taxes are too high,’” she said. “Unless we get that under control, our kids will be moving to North and South Carolina.”
Long Beach school board trustee Roy Lester, whose law firm handles foreclosures throughout Long Island, said Long Beach’s desirability remains strong and nothing — not even the city’s current fiscal crisis — can keep people away.
“I don’t think anything can happen in Long Beach to affect its desirability,” Lester said. “People move here for the beach, the water and the community.”
But he believes the days of buying more expensive properties are over.
“I think it’s much more difficult to sell a house in Long Beach than in the past,” said Lester. “People are more cautious in their spending.”
Lester said foreclosure filings have risen this year because last year many housing foreclosures were put off.
“Across Long Island, I’m looking at people losing their homes, I’m looking at people moving,” he added.
During a City Council budget hearing on May 15, Doreen Psliakis, a West Olive Street resident, predicted that a tax increase by the city might mean that more Long Beach foreclosures are ahead.
Some Long Beach homeowners have also expressed concerns that they will eventually be priced out of Long Beach as school property taxes continue to mount, especially since the approval of a 2009 bond to upgrade the schools.
Kevin Heller of West Beech Street said many of his friends have been forced to move due to high taxes.
“I’m a pragmatic person,” said Heller. “I’ll stay as long as I can afford to put my kids through college. But if you push me too far and I have to choose between college savings or living in Long Beach…”